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

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Expanding Discursive Spaces: Community Radio during COVID-19 and Beyond

Locating the ongoing migrant worker crisis in the politics of voice poverty and lack of access to spaces of representation, the article examines the role played by a grass-roots medium like community radio in India and elsewhere to provide discursive spaces for interest articulation for marginalised communities. Despite the lack of public funding and state support, community radio stations across India have risen to the occasion by broadcasting locally relevant information in local languages and helped mobilise communities to deal with the crisis. The article suggests that genuine democratisation of media may yet be possible with appropriate measures to address issues of information access and communicative equity.

Restoring Employment and Rural Landscapes

The national lockdown unleashed an unprecedented economic crisis on millions of poor urban migrants who lost their employment and were forced to “reverse-migrate” to their homes on foot over vast distances. However, the rural areas—from where they originated—were already reeling under severe and rapid economic and ecological degradation and were ill-equipped to deal with this sudden increase in the demand for livelihood opportunities. In this paper, we demonstrate the potential of “ecological restoration” of primarily rural landscapes in India to generate rapid and high-volume employment along with other co-benefits.

Whither One Health in India?

The COVID-19 pandemic has sharply brought into focus how intrusions into natural landscapes are not just environmental concerns, but are also intricately entangled with public health. Little attention has been paid to systemic causes such as large-scale biodiversity loss that underlie the emergence and re-emergence of these diseases. Institutional networks of public and animal health in India that are involved in the surveillance and control of zoonoses are outlined herein. It is shown that the lack of a systematic framework that explicitly involves institutions that manage biodiversity and wildlife health leads to gaps in operationalising a One Health framework in India. Addressing these lacunae requires a supra-ministerial mechanism that brings together public health, ecology, and veterinary and social sciences to combat the threats posed by existing and emerging zoonoses.

Interconnectedness of Illegal Wildlife Trade and COVID-19

Since its outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic’s interlinkages with illegal wildlife trade have caught a lot of attention and been touted as a primary cause. Dwelling on the carrier species of coronavirus that have been implicated and the channels of zoonotic spillover, the policies implemented to curb bushmeat consumption with incomplete ramifications to curb illegal wildlife markets are critiqued. The urgent need to address the problem is highlighted, requiring significant enforcement efforts at the local and national level along with transnational cooperation to make them successful. There is a need for alternative coordinated solutions for the COVID-19 vaccine which ironically finds its origin in a wildlife product.

Crumbling Firewalls

Ownership of banks by industrial houses will cost the economy dearly.

COVID-19-led Migrant Crisis

The genesis and evolution of the COVID-19-led migrant crisis in India, along with the institutional responses, is discussed. The focus is on the shortcomings of the response, especially taking into consideration the curtailment of human mobility, which pushed migrants into enormous physical, psychological, and economic vulnerability, and the short-, medium-, and long-term measures provided by the government in order to alleviate them. Alternate policy measures to ensure migrant welfare in the immediate future are suggested.

Will COVID-19 Change the Landscape of Financing Innovation in India?

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the financing opportunities for innovation. The revenue loss induced by the pandemic is likely to divert the existing resources in aiding firm survival and economic recovery, with financing innovation taking the back seat. Highlighting the current state of innovation in the country, the rise of the country in its innovation ranking and its existing sources of funding is brought to the forefront. Various avenues presently exist for this purpose and more outlets could be explored to boost the funds for innovative efforts. Experience and policies of other emerging economies can help devise suitable measures that could further enhance India’s trajectory up the innovation ranking.

The COVID-19 Crisis

India’s public health system has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, India’s public health infrastructure was inadequate with only 0.55 beds per 1,000 population, while out-of-pocket expenditure was pushing almost 63 million people back into poverty, as a large number of healthcare positions lie vacant across the country. Faced with a growing disease burden, India’s public health system is in dire need of investment and the COVID-19 crisis is the perfect opportunity to back this policy decision with political will.

Negotiating Livelihood during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown led to the closure of all markets in Manipur, including the Tribal Market Complex in Imphal East. This article focuses on how the women vendors negotiated their livelihood during the lockdown and analyses its impact. It looks at their ability to cope amidst vulnerability and marginalisation against the backdrop of the ongoing economic turmoil and potentially the disease itself, highlighting their plight and resilience. */

The Pandemic and Economic Fallout in South Asia

Coherent national strategies, backed by regional cooperation efforts, offer a way forward for economic recovery in South Asia, which is rapidly becoming the next COVID-19 global hotspot. Challenges and policies relating to macroeconomics, health, economic sectors, stimulus measures, and reforms, which are all crucial for the region’s recovery are discussed. */

Viral Nostalgia and the Case of the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the last few months, the digital community has effectively responded to the overwhelming changes brought forth by the global calamity with definitive expressions of nostalgia, among other things. The multifarious digital platforms have gone viral with old images, posts, and memories of intimacy and sociality, expressing a yearning for the pre-pandemic times and the restoration of “normalcy.” This article seeks to locate the close connection between illness and nostalgia by tracing its evolution through the fraught medical history of “homesickness” and its “nosological mutation” under the sway of industrial modernity. Finally, the article seeks to understand the current onrush of nostalgia and its significance as the affective aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis engulfing the world.

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