India coronavirus dispatch: States don't have enough money in this battle

Topics Coronavirus

A health workers collects sample from a pregnant woman for Covid-19 test at Sadar Hospital in Ranchi. Photo: PTI
The end of India’s Covid-19 lockdown, reviving a struggling financial sector, and why Odisha is seeing a spike in new cases -- read these and more in Business Standard’s India coronavirus dispatch.

Expert Speak 

Why States don’t have enough money for the Covid-19 battle: A running theme so far is that decision-making has been largely centralised while the fact is that it is the states that bear responsibility for the frontline battles against the pandemic. What was the balance like between State and Centre before the pandemic hit? States are short of funds, especially now with economic activity being almost absent. How can this be addressed? Listen to this podcast with M Govinda Roa, Member, Fourteenth Finance Commission and former Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

Long Read

When a virus finds space in India’s largest slum: Dharavi is many things: Asia’s largest slum, one of the most densely populated areas in the world and, now, also a containment zone. Driving through its narrow lanes, chock-a-block with settlements and thronging with people, it is evident that the one necessary norm to prevent the spread of Covid-19, physical distancing, is practically impossible here. Read more here


With Covid-19 crisis dealing a sharp blow to struggling financial sector, revival calls for new approach: As the exit from lockdown starts, albeit slow in pace and differentiated across geographies, attention is beginning to focus on the task of reviving economic production. The immediate problems created by the crisis must be addressed, decisively and quickly argues Arvind Subramanian. Read here

Making markets work for farmers during and after the lockdown: The lockdown disrupted agricultural markets just when the rabi crop was harvested. To support farmers the states & the centre need to devise policies to expand procurement to cover more crops & small farmers. Support is needed for rabi & the kharif seasons. Read more here

Managing Covid-19 

Why Odisha is seeing a spike in new cases: Odisha saw its highest single-day surge in Covid-19 cases so far, reporting as many as 78 new cases on Friday to take its tally to 287. The state had been reporting low numbers of coronavirus infections till now, but in the last two days 107 cases have been discovered, mainly amongst the migrant workers returning from other states, triggering alarm bells in Bhubaneswar. Read more here

How Niti Aayog plans to make India a Covid-19 testing superpower with private help: The plan involves bringing scientists and laboratories in touch with private firms to produce millions of testing kits, including 10 million rapid antibody tests that offer quick results. This will be done under a project called Consortium for affordable and rapid diagnostics (CARD), to be spearheaded by the NITI Aayog and the central government’s Department of Biotechnology. Read more here

The pandemic is changing the face of Indian labour: The pandemic has highlighted the real working and living conditions of most workers. The unfolding crisis does make one stop and wonder – how can this be the situation of most Indian workers, 70 years after independence? Read here about how workers in India lack a dignified life, the right of every citizen in a democratic country.

We cannot have a lockdown exit strategy which ignores women: The extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic have also created indirect impact on women by further burdening them with invisible yet challenging roles within the household. Evidence shows that women already perform ten times more unpaid work than men. Read here on how the lockdown exit strategy needs to factor them.

Green zone districts report cases as India lifts curbs: At least 20 districts that were declared green zones have reported new cases since April 29, an analysis of data from eight states with more than 50 per cent increase in case numbers has found. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19 

What is coronavirus pandemic? Coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19 symptoms, precautions, vaccine, medicine, cases in India and world: Find out more here about how the novel coronavirus pandemic started and a summary of the biggest developments in the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Are immunity passports, release certificates the way to go? Even if immunity from Covid-19 is considered, the duration is not known. That is, will a person be immune for a few weeks, or a few months, or a couple of years? Due to the lack of evidence, the WHO has warned against using immunity passports and other such documents as a measure to be used for the next phase of the pandemic. Read about it here

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