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

COVID and StatesSubscribe to COVID and States

Marginalised Migrants and Bihar as an Area of Origin

Outmigration from Bihar in search of livelihood has been normalised over several decades, with Bihar being one of the topmost states of origin for the migrants. Unemployment rate in Bihar remains higher than the country average. Agriculture has become unviable over the years due to low yields, increasing landlessness and lack of financial support by the state. The return migration to the state in the wake of COVID-19 necessitates that the state generate farm and non-farm employment to address the crisis situation.

Challenges in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a rethinking of the contours of state intervention, especially in social sectors like health. The argument for rolling back the state has become questionable even among mainstream commentators. Kerala’s experience shows how public investment in healthcare and a participatory mode of governance with empowered local governments can help in pandemic mitigation. A truly federal set-up with shared responsibilities between the centre and states is better suited to deal with situations like the present one rather than a centralised system.

COVID-19, Public Health System and Local Governance in Kerala

Kerala has been successful in containing COVID-19 and in achieving a low rate of spread, high recovery, and low fatality. The importance of the public health system, social capital and the active involvement of the people through local governments that played a significant role in Kerala’s success is highlighted. A brief historical review of the evolution of public health system and local governments in Kerala is also attempted.

Mumbai’s Struggles with Public Health Crises

The economic catastrophe precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of the dismal public health system has actually led to the heightening of the public health crisis. If the migration of workers from cities is not stopped through appropriate economic support measures, the public health crises will worsen because most migrants are returning to states that have very poor healthcare systems with limited capacities to deal with such crises. This pandemic also offers a political opportunity for governments to focus on strengthening the primary healthcare and public health systems through bold experimentation and strategies.

Significance of Testing for Identification of COVID-19

The official and media discourse in India often focuses on the cumulative or daily detection of infected cases irrespective of the number of people tested and thus confuses the issue of disease progression. Based on the analysis of the number of infected cases identified and the number of people tested in eight states in India, it is emphasised that identification and quarantine of those who are infected slows down the spread of the disease. Mobilising resources towards the primary healthcare system for expanding contact tracing and investing in additional facilities to quarantine and treat infected patients is suggested.

Living with Covid-19

The limits of lockdown are coterminous with the limits of the states’ planning and its implementation.

When People and Governments Come Together

The COVID -19 pandemic has been a test of the Indian state’s capacity to deal with the repercussions of a public health crisis. Kerala’s success, as it continues to draw strength from its political culture of participatory governance and its emphasis on social welfare, is elaborated. Some of the decentralised, scientific, and humane policy measures taken to contain the virus are also elucidated.

Indian Federalism and COVID-19

Following the principle of fairness to regulate centre–state relations during a crisis becomes urgent.

COVID-19 and the Public Health System in Bihar

Bihar’s public healthcare system is not equipped to deal with the challenge of COVID-19. The density of testing centres is the worst for Bihar in the country, with one testing centre for a population of 110 million. Besides, it lacks in both infrastructure and human resources in the health arena and, thus, is unprepared to deal with and properly respond to the health crisis.

Reason of the State and COVID-19

It is needless to mention that COVID-19 has, by now, become a global calamity that has engulfed in its destructive logic many countries, including India. Given the highly infectious nature of the disease, the unruly nature of the virus is likely to create a shocking degree of devastating impact...

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