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

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Livelihood Vulnerability, Policy Response and Coping Strategies during COVID-19

This article examines the livelihood vulnerability experienced by the informal workers in Kerala in terms of employment and income shortfalls during the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis. A discussion on the policy response of the state is also attempted to understand its role in reducing the levels of livelihood vulnerability. Kerala’s policy intervention is a road map for other states to contain the pandemic and its consequences.

To Regulate or Strangulate?

A critique aspect of the current regulatory framework for non-banking financial companies by the Reserve Bank of India shows that such regulations would stymie the growth of NBFCs, constricting their lending ability that has been affected by the pandemic. What is needed is regulation through incentives instead of the threat of penalisation.

Atmanirbharta in Statistics and the Thrust on ‘Make in India’

International agencies usually make country comparisons based on statistical indicators founded on globally accepted concepts and definitions. The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has questioned the adoption of international standards in three key sectors and has suggested developing standards that produce statistical indicators in tune with the national narrative. This is unlikely to help the country’s statistical system. 

Blended Finance in the Health Sector of India

The blended-financing vehicle created in India during the COVID-19 pandemic provided support to social initiatives in healthcare training and service delivery. The organisation and functioning of blended fi nance is complex. Thus we put forth some concerns related to its role in the Indian healthcare system.

Cuba’s COVID-19 Crisis

Personal and admittedly subjective observations and reflections on the multidimensional crisis in Cuba are presented, drawing especially on the author’s three weeks’ visit. The focus is on the worst crisis Cuba has ever faced in terms of not only its economic and social impact, but especially on its social-psychological effect on Cuban people.

A Right Act for Health

Rajasthan’s pioneering Right to Health Act emerged through contestation and negotiation with private medical associations. Certain provisions require further clarity and incorporation of civil society suggestions; this forward-looking legislation must be operationalised keeping in view the wider political economy of healthcare.

Beyond Remorse to Reflection: Curating a Strategy for Research and Response for Adolescents in India post COVID-19

Global data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents show that >150 million children and adolescents in 165 countries have been affected by the pandemic-induced closures ( Xiang et al 2020 ). This article presents experiences and conversations around the pandemic’s effect on the adolescent population and the need for spotlighting and vulnerabilities of adolescent girls, specifically, in India. The article tries to establish the need for deeper introspection on “successes and learnings” of responses across development programmes designed to address the impact of the pandemic with this population group of Koppal district, Karnataka.

Effect of Development Variables on COVID-19 Fatality Rate among Asian Countries

This article explores the impact of variables influencing the COVID-19 fatality rate in Asian countries, notably those related to inclusive human development. The case fatality rate of COVID-19 is the dependent variable in the study, and the independent variables include the percentage of health expenditure from the gross domestic product (GDP), health expenditure per capita in United States dollars, human development index, sustainable development goal (SDG) index, GDP per capita at constant prices, hospital bed per 1,000 people, population ages 15–64 (percent of the total population), population ages 65 and above (percent of the total population), literacy rate adult total (% of people 15 and above ages), physicians per 1,000 people, positive case rate per 1,000 people, and diabetes prevalence (% of population ages 20 – 79). In this article, we have used regression analysis to investigate their impact on the dependent variable. The percentage of health expenditure from the GDP positively impacts the case fatality rate, but it is insignificant. Hospital bed per 1,000 population is negatively associated with fatality rate, yet with insignificant effects Most unexpectedly, the total number of positive cases negatively correlates with the fatality rate with an insignificant impact. On the contrary, diabetes prevalence (% of population ages 20–79) is positively associated with fatality rate but is insignificantly impacted. It is found that the SDG index, GDP per capita (constant), and population ages 65 and above (% of the total population) are significant independent variables. Of the 17 goals in the SDGs, 12 goals, 33 targets, and 57 indicators designated as health-related SDGs will require serious government commitments. Such commitments may be through the fiscal framework as the SDGs’ attainments are dependent on financial commitment. The countries’ governments can give much consideration to these variables to mitigate the vulnerability of the pandemic in the coming future by adopting proper policies.

Altruistic and Monadic Liberalism 

The overwhelming question that still disturbs political theory is why some democracies accept COVID-19-appropriate behaviour more readily than others. On consideration, it would appear that there are two kinds of liberal democracies today. “Monadic democracy” prevails in those polities that came into being after overthrowing monarchy and subsequently instituting republicanism. “Altruistic democracy” is the other kind of liberal democracy that emerged after overthrowing a foreign power.

COVID-19 and Female Unpaid Labour

The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns have added to the unpaid household labour for women. However, to what extent is this event unique in doing so? In this article, we try to place the impact of the pandemic in the broader dynamics of household work performed by women. The article discusses the consumption-driven pressures in the household, alongside the increasing marketisation of women’s work in the domestic space.

Covid Nationalism and Its Discontents in China

Between 2020 and 2022, China imposed a rigorous zero-Covid policy to control its spread and keep the infections and fatalities at or near zero. Stringent lockdowns, frequent PCR tests, and strict restrictions on entry into China were important features of this policy. Although extremely successful during the first two years of the pandemic in preventing the spread of deadly COVID-19 variants such as the Delta, the policy proved ineffective against the Omicron variant. This article examines China’s response to the spread of COVID-19, the framing of this response through nationalist narratives, and the eventual chaotic pivot from zero-Covid policy.

The Pandemic of Hunger: Testing Times in Bhoka

Odia film Bhoka highlights the fissures in a fractured society, exploring the struggle for survival in a pandemic of hunger.

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