COVID-19 has significantly upended the traditional learning process and has impacted students and teachers at all levels. In order to recover lost gains in education, India will have to pursue greater flexibility in its education system and be more open to newer and less traditional solutions.
Posts tagged as “COVID-19”
While medical equipment may be obtained, skilled personnel are required to operate them. However, there is no credible resource that provides segmented data on personnel and infrastructure. In the absence of such data, tackling emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic becomes impossible.
Vaccination should have been easy, given our large production capacities, successful past mass vaccination, and the advanced logistical infrastructure of our election machinery, which could have been used. Instead, even affluent urban Indians are struggling to access an indigenously produced vaccine.
India must go much further than just survive this pandemic. A political culture of communalism and vengeance led to opaque governance and misplaced policy priorities. Many Indians voted for false communal pride, but as the pandemic hit, they found that they needed oxygen instead.
From a haphazardly unplanned vaccine diplomacy drive to undiplomatic public letters, India's foreign policy has prioritised image over substance. Without substance and efficient and effective delivery of services, such measures are simply perceived by the outside world as empty, self-promoting bluster.
Unlike the U.S., which was criticised for hoarding vaccines with no clear intention to use them all, India was the poster boy of true global integration – sharing its already limited resources with the ones that needed it. But amidst the pride and triumphalism, the Indian government forgot to plan and prepare.
Developing countries want patent protections to be temporarily removed for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs. But this will destroy the incentives that made these vaccines possible in the first place. Pharma companies and global institutions have shown that there are other ways to make medicines affordable.
As of 9 March 2021, India has supplied about 60 million doses of vaccine globally. On the other hand, China has supplied only about 12-15 million overseas. And deeper analysis of India's supply of vaccines to different countries shows that New Delhi has been using its vaccine diplomacy very strategically.
Breakdown in communication and trust between the government and citizens resulted in heavy hardship as citizens lost access to basic services. There are lessons to be learnt from Punjab, Kerala and Odisha. We need to build enabling infrastructure that helps communities to act freely to meet their own needs.
During COVID-19, larger centralised rice mills have been shut down due to transportation restrictions and lack of diesel. But smaller decentralised rice mills have been running and keeping farmers alive. There are many lessons for rural development from this experience.