ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Spatial Effects of COVID-19 Transmission in Mumbai

This article is on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the city of Mumbai with the pandemic considered as a local public bad with spillover effects across the wards of the city. Spatial econometric techniques are used to model these spillovers using both cross-section as well as panel data. The main conclusion of the article is that the significant spatial spillover effect across the wards of the city is likely to make the exit from the enforced lockdown a major challenge.

Real versus Fictitious

The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the contradictions of the present economic arrangements to the limits. The system survived inflating financial assets and feeding on inequalities. The divide between the real economy and the sphere of finance cannot be left unchecked without risking an economic catastrophe. Wealth and income inequalities cannot be pushed anymore without irretrievably damaging the underlying social contract. The virus is making change inevitable.

Public Good Perspective of Public Health

India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to its abandonment of the welfare state, marginalisation of public good principle and collapse and fragmentation of the public health system. As COVID-19 cases surge, many states could barely treat patients needing medical support due to bed shortages and poor infrastructural facilities. The overwhelmed system disrupted routine and emergency non-COVID services as well. The interstate differences in coping with COVID-19 are rooted in the public sector health infrastructure, investment in rural services and disease control programmes. A comprehensive healthcare system is needed as COVID-19 is not the end of the problem of the globalisation of epidemics.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and Agriculture

In this short note, we critically examine two proposals specific to agriculture announced as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the subsequent ordinances. We argue that while the investment in infrastructure is a welcome step, market reforms proposed are inadequate to improve the prospects of smallholder farmers. An enabling ecosystem that enhances the market power of farmers must be created for smallholders to take advantage of the reform measures.

COVID-19 and Women Informal Sector Workers in India

The precarious nature of employment of women informal workers is examined using data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2018–19). To capture the gendered experiences of informal workers during the lockdown period, data from a series of rapid assessment studies is used. It was found that the unequal gendered division of domestic chores existed even before the onset of the pandemic, but the COVID-19- induced lockdowns have further worsened the situation. In terms of paid employment, women tend to work in risky, hazardous and stigmatised jobs as front-line health workers, waste-pickers, domestic workers, but do not receive the minimum wages as specified by the government.

Spectacle as a Response

The way Covid-19 pandemic is being understood and addressed makes it a spectacle in the Debordian sense, in which all the social relations are mediated through images and appearances. Where even the desire of a safe and healthy life is dealt not with dignity, and effective, accessible healthcare, but through virtual images. Such a spectacle, in turn, creates a world that would be connected more, while the people would live a fragmented life on which they will increasingly lose their control.

Reverse Migration of Labourers amidst COVID-19

Migrant workers returning to native places in COVID-19 times were the host for urban to rural transmission of cases as the migrant-receiving states witnessed over five times increase in the number of districts having a more significant concentration of COVID-19 cases from 1 May to 31 May 2020. There is an urgent need for the skill mapping of the migrant workforce and creating social security schemes to protect them under any socio-economic or health emergency.

Indian Public Health Associations on COVID-19

Leading Indian professional associations of public health have released a second joint statement on 25 May 2020, on the COVID-19 pandemic and its management in the country. The central issue they raise is the ignoring of technical advice of the country’s leading experts and institutions in decision-making about strategies for handling the pandemic. The larger politics of knowledge in public health and its interdisciplinary requirements are discussed.

Need for a Strong and Reliable Statistical System in India

The evolution and organisation of the Indian statistical system is reviewed with particular emphasis on social sector statistics. In the light of recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, some evident lacunae in the system of collecting, synchronising, and disseminating data from diverse sources are discussed. The critical need for better financing of the statistical agencies, facilitating homogeneous integration between different agencies, and promoting transparency, accountability, and autonomy of the statistical system are highlighted as key priorities.

Why Bihar’s Record in Handling COVID-19 Is Dismal

Among the states, Bihar faces the greatest challenge, particularly in terms of the reverse migration occurring from the lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the poor state of its health services infrastructure, the state government should have taken urgent and appropriate measures to screen, test and quarantine the returning migrant workers. This article takes a look at the trajectory of the government’s response to the health crisis.

Migration Governance in a Pandemic: What Can We Learn from India’s Treatment of Migrants in the Gulf?

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the loss of livelihood for many Indian migrants working abroad. In light of this, an inclusive migration governance framework is the need of the hour to provide Indian workers with a social safety net during crises.

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