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

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Migration and Reverse Migration in the Age of COVID-19

The notion of the “migrant” in the current capitalist times and the world of migrants in it are explored. The source to destination streams of migrant labour is outlined, and it is then argued that reverse migration will perhaps usher in the greatest crisis in the rural landscape of India, for which we are not yet prepared.

Saving Jobs and Averting Lay-offs amidst COVID-19 Lockdown

Despite unleashing a slew of relief measures, the state is grappling to ensure that employers abstain from imposing lay-offs, pay cuts or unpaid leave during the lockdown. Even if the state mandates employers to pay wages without any lay-offs, then, in this context, there is a need to advocate for wider coverage of labour legislation in India. In the short run, fixing accountability on employers for wages and jobs will provide an interim relief, but, in the long run, we need to take financial viability into consideration and provide stimulus wage subsidy.

The Mathadi Model and Its Relevance for Empowering Unprotected Workers

The idea of providing comprehensive social security benefits to unprotected workers has still remained an unsolved task for the government due to a number of reasons, from administrative and financial limitations, and scattered and biased nature of social security legislations in the country, to inadequate information available on the unorganised sector and lack of data. The relevance of the mathadi model of social security to casual and other workers in the present context is highlighted and inputs on adopting its good practices in the proposed code on social security are provided.

Plugging Loopholes in Taxation of Interstate Sales

States may be hesitant to increase sales tax rates on petroleum products out of the goods and service tax’s ambit to cope with the Covid-19-led revenue shock. The risk of revenue loss on account of the interstate purchase of out-of-GST petroleum products at a concessional rate of 2% may not give an opportunity to state governments to enlarge fiscal space and lift the economy out of fiscal shock, given the fall in global price of crude petroleum.

Identity of a Disease

The intersections of class, region and other social dimensions that go into the discovery and identification of some diseases as epidemics while relegating other pervasive and lethal illnesses as “ordinary” are examined. In this regard, the lopsided relationship between epistemology and epidemiology is explored in detail. It is argued that the combination of Covid-19 with other diseases (also referred to as co-morbidity), as well as undeclared silent epidemics of several other diseases, require recognition.

COVID-19’s Disruption of India’s Transformed Food Supply Chains

COVID-19 has created high transaction costs and uncertainty in India’s transformed food supply chains, putting food security at risk as 92% of food consumption in India is purchased, predominantly from the private sector. Government faces the challenge of marshalling resources between mitigating the impending food crisis and containing the contagion as the risk of sociopolitical tensions looms large. It is recommended that the government concentrate on sustaining the food supply chains towards eventual rebound, recognising that government food distribution cannot replace even a tenth of the market.

World Economy and Nation States post COVID-19

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the world economy has come to a grinding halt. The economic fallout would be enormous in terms of loss in production, income, and employment. The COVID -19 pandemic has caused major ruptures in the world system, which has serious implications for global accumulation of capital. It, therefore, presents an opportun ity to reimagine the global division of labour and the international economic architecture.

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.

Gendering the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has affected Indian women differently. Due to the lack of autonomy and gender insensitive nature of the state’s response to the corona crisis, women are perceived as second class citizens. While the lockdown is not qualitatively a new experience for the women, even in critical times as it does not change boundaries or the nature of the public and the private spheres for them. Rather, it overburdens them, bereaves them of agency, and compromises their safety.

Public Health during Pandemics and Beyond

The rapid spread of COVID -19 in India brings into sharp focus home the important role of public health services. It is high time to strengthen public health services so that they can serve India’s population well beyond the pandemic. While active state intervention in ensuring universal and comprehensive healthcare is the need of the hour, the government should also invest in the broader determinants of health by improving access to food and income as a collective responsibility to secure the health of the populations

COVID-19 Relief Package

Informal workers, migrants in cities, farmers and small businesses are worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Although the central government has announced a relief package, the effective implementation of the welfare measures pose a big challenge. In this context, the role of construction welfare boards is assessed, and questions are raised over the proper distribution of direct benefit transfers to construction workers through CWBs.

Post-harvest Management and Farm Outcomes

An evaluation study across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha, finds that post-harvest management of crops plays a crucial role in both value generation as well as value distribution along crop value chains, by mitigating post-harvest losses, in the main. However, while post-harvest loss is an undeniable constraint to farm income in India, the role of post-harvest management is more complex, and its implications go well beyond merely arresting post-harvest losses.

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