Present Scenario – Macro Level
Macro-Level Picture: As India records the biggest single-day jump in numbers for both COVID 19 cases and deaths, the overall mortality rate (death per 100 cases) has surged to 3.38 percent, the highest since April 13 (3.46 percent) when 51 deaths were recorded (as per the data shared by the Union Health Ministry). The economic activity has been suspended since mid-March after the announcement of lockdown to counter the spread of COVID 19 pandemics. This has led India’s unemployment rate surged to 27.11 percent for the week ended May 3 from the level of 6.74 percent in the week ended March 15, the data from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CIME) showed. The rate of unemployment was the highest in urban areas which include the majority in the red zones at 29.22 percent as against 26.16 percent for rural areas. Employment in MSMEs and unorganized sector is expected to be hit sharply. According to data provided by the National Health Authority (NHA), the number of treatments for 825 types of unique critical non-COVID procedures by both private and government facilities across the country dropped over 20 percent between Feb and April.
Way Forward: It is now utmost necessary for the rural and urban Indian governance to come together and make a robust integrated plan. Planning for withstanding the entrance of COVID 19 requires the full deployment of the mechanism for district planning envisaged in Article 243 ZD involving all three tiers of the panchayats and the municipalities brought together in the district planning committee.
Silver Lining: In Srinagar, after the death of two pregnant women in Anantnag, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner P K Pole had directed the district authorities to draw up birth plans for pregnant women so that they can be screened for COVID in advance. Hence Srinagar District Project Officer Zeenat Ara has been using her network of Anganwadi workers and ASHA workers to ensure no expectant mother or the newborn falls off their radar. With travel restricted, doctors and clinics hard to get through to, and stores and markets closed, Anganwadi workers who have been reaching out to pregnant women amidst the nationwide lockdown. Each ANGANWADI worker offers a pack to all pregnant woman which has two packets. One, for the expectant mother, which carries a hot water bag, towels, a set of comfortable nightwear and slippers. The other is for the baby — a soft, furry pink blanket, wipes, diapers, clothes, soap, and a few other essentials .