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

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Agricultural Market Operations across the Lockdown in J&K

By providing empirical evidence, the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the agricultural market operations of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is analysed. Mandi operations in terms of market arrivals have been found to be higher during the lockdown phases, and the market operations seem to have moved towards normal from Phase 1 to Phase 4 of the lockdown. The administration of Jammu and Kashmir showed a rapid response in the revival of mandi operations for the benefit of the farming communities as well as the consumers.

Post-COVID-19 Challenges in the Indian IT Industry

The information technology industry has been the hallmark of the Indian growth story since the 1980s. The Indian IT sector has relied heavily on non-home markets for demand and resources and built deep global ties using co-location with clients, enabled by international travel and temporary on-site migration, acting as a key mechanism in developing “cognitive proximity.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to make international travel and migration more restrictive and costlier, maybe for a long time. The paradigm shift creates significant barriers for IT firms to be able to maintain cognitive proximity with its clients and could adversely impact their global competitiveness.

Newly Formed Empowered ‘Technology Group’ and COVID-19

The role of the empowered “Technology Group” with respect to building and promoting health technologies is discussed and a possible road map is charted out.

Public Health Lessons

Odisha, in spite of a poor public health system, did well in managing the pandemic in the initial month. This is on account of three reasons. It drew from its now globally recognised swift disaster preparedness and management aimed at zero casualty. It adopted a proactive, as against reactive, course, which in itself is a difficult proposition in such an uncertain and dynamic scenario. It took lessons from success stories and challenges based on happenings elsewhere.

Macroeconomic Consequences of a Lockdown and Its Policy Implications

The unprecedented lockdown has pushed economies into dire straits and also raised hopes that they would soon rebound to the old normal as soon as the pandemic is contained. But this is unlikely as the deterioration in the resource position and slump in demand can be reversed only by discarding the usual macroeconomic framework and by using a different approach and implementing out-of-the-box solutions. This analysis enables us to understand what policies may or may not work during and after a lockdown and the role of a stimulus and its magnitude.

Disability during COVID-19

COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns have severely curtailed the mobility of persons with disabilities, restricted their ability to seek basic necessities, healthcare, and assistance. Uncertainty on the disbursement of financial protection schemes meant for persons with disabilities have exacerbated their existing financial precarity. At this juncture, obstacles in accessing healthcare should be identified, facilities should be made affordable, and financial support should be exclusively planned for persons with disabilities to save them from the dreadful risk of the coronavirus and its aftermath.

Handloom Weavers and Lockdown in Sualkuchi Cluster of Assam

After demonetisation in 2016, followed by imposition of the goods and services tax in the subsequent year, the COVID-19 lockdown has turned out to be a final nail in the coffin for the handloom sector in Assam. It has special importance in the informal economy of Assam since it is next to agriculture in creating employment opportunities. An examination of the Sualkuchi weaving cluster in Assam shows the many challenges the weavers, most of them women, face.

Covid-19 Progression

Countries across the world are relying on trial-and-error interventions to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic. But, even as health systems are close to breaking down and economies are flailing while underprivileged citizens are battling unprecedented social and financial catastrophes, most governments are failing to provide appropriate social security and relief.

China-bashing and Post-COVID-19 Narrative

The disruption of supply chains caused by COVID-19 has led to predictions that international firms will relocate production away from China, benefiting other emerging economies, including India. However, China’s integration with the global economy in terms of international finance, investment, construction and as a low-cost location for global production is now so deep that such changes will neither be quick nor painless. In fact, China’s innovations might allow it to even reinforce its position in the global economy.

Neo-liberal Reforms in Higher Education Accelerated by the Pandemic

Neo-liberalism’s claim of being the vanguard of individual freedom works as the basis of popular support for education system reforms, which aim at making society receptive to the principles of free market. In the process, contents and methods of teaching–learning are redesigned to build public consent for those reforms, while the real objectives are to possibly ensure a steady flow of skilled human resource for the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant changes in the education system are being used to increase acceptability of the reforms.

Why It Makes Sense to Leave and Stay Gone

India experienced a mass exodus of informal sector workers who were heading out of cities, bound homewards. Given the paucity of transport infrastructure, this is translating into one of the greatest mass tragedies of post-independence India. This has been rationalised as a combination of people moving out because of a lockdown-induced loss of earnings and irrational fears stoked by the pandemonium. This exodus is, in fact, a perfectly rational response to the rapid spread of the virus in informal housing localities. Three different policies are outlined whose combination could have, and can still, reduce, if not entirely stop, the exodus.

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