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

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Barriers to Establishing a Dedicated Public Health Cadre

The efforts to develop a public health cadre have not seen much progress in most of the Indian states, despite the recommendations of several committees appointed by the union government, and the 2022 guidelines issued for establishing them. This paper, by drawing on the views of experts in the field, examines the epistemic, structural, systemic, and administrative barriers to the establishment of such a cadre in the south Indian states. It notes that the dominance and perpetuation of biomedical view of health, poor understanding of what public health is, privatisation of healthcare, the vested interests of clinicians, consultancy firms, international funding institutions and the existing hierarchies and binaries within the system, act as major barriers to the establishment of the cadre. The paper suggests that the proposed public health management cadre needs a critical revisit in light of these impediments and concerns.

Food Security for Interstate Migrants

This article uses a newly compiled transaction-level data set on 2 million-plus ration purchases made by interstate migrants to study the One Nation, One Ration Card scheme. The analysis suggests that despite gaining momentum, the initiative may still have some distance to cover. Interstate transactions remain small compared to intra-state sales. Success in implementing and benefiting from the scheme is highly skewed.

How COVID-19 Deepened the Gender Fault Lines in India's Labour Markets

India has witnessed low levels of women’s labour force participation over the last four decades, with gaps of nearly 40 percentage points between the proportion of men and women in the labour force. Recent high-frequency data shows that COVID-19-induced lockdowns have had a disproportionate impact on women’s employment. Women bore the immediate impact of lockdowns, with 37.1% losing jobs (versus 27.7% men) in April 2020 and forming 73% of job losses in April 2021. Employment recovery has been slower for women. Prevailing sociocultural factors such as the increased burden of unpaid domestic work, gender digital divides, mobility restrictions, and the lack of institutional support at workplaces are discouraging women’s return to work. Even in January 2022, women’s labour force is 9.4% lower than January 2020 versus 1.6% for men. In this scenario, governments can support through gender-sensitive job-creation plans to expand women’s employment in the public and micro, small and medium enterprise sectors, and incentivise women’s entrepreneurship.

Impact of the Pandemic on Growth of the States

The slump and recovery in growth varied substantially and adversely affected disparate states.

Public Health for All

Universalising Healthcare in India: From Care to Coverage edited by Imrana Qadeer, K B Saxena and P M Arathi, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2019; pp 475, `1,495.

COVID-19 Cases and Vaccination Inequality: A Comparative Analysis of Political Regimes

Different regimes have different capacities to respond to pandemics. Historically, democracies outperformed autocracies in health outcomes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings, with a sharper tone, of full democracies (having higher COVID-19 cases than authoritarian regimes) and led to the formation of two competing hypotheses among the cross-national comparative political researchers: (i) biasing autocracy: that authoritarian regime manipulated and underreported COVID-19 cases, and (ii) efficient autocracy: that authoritarian regimes can control the spread of the disease effectively than democracies. We examined these two hypotheses, employing Benford’s test and generalised linear models, using the latest data set from the World Health Organization, EIU, United Nations, and other relevant sources. Findings include having no empirical support for the biasing hypothesis. However, the efficient autocracy hypothesis acquired partial empirical support. We further examined the data on COVID-19 vaccination for reliability (using Benford’s test), and the results indicated a potential case of data manipulation.

Nature of Health Insurance Demand in India

In this paper, an attempt is made to explore the elasticity of health insurance demand in India. Keeping in view the central and state government efforts as well as rural–urban disparities in the country, we evaluate whether people have appropriate information about these governmental schemes and the influence of other socio-economic factors on individual household choices.

What Does the COVID-19 Experience Tell Us about Indian Growth Drivers?

Parts of this paper were presented at SSS-AIU, Study Group and EGROW Foundation webinars, O P Jindal Finance Global Finance Conclave and Rajagiri Conference on Economics and Finance. Enthusiastic feedback helped improve it. In particular, the author thanks Charan Singh for the invitation to develop one of her op-eds, Arvind Virmani, Amartya Lahiri and an EPW referee for comments. The author would also like to thank Krishnandu Ghosh and Sandipan Saha for research assistance and Shreeja Joy Velu for secretarial assistance. This paper is an updated and abbreviated version of IGIDR WP-2021–025.
 

Needles, Blood, and Data

That COVID-19 has been difficult on gender minorities has been well-documented. Through a combination of abandonment by the state, reluctance towards women’s health beyond their reproductive capacity, and an epistemological gap at the heart of modern medicine, it is ensured that the effects of vaccines on women’s menstrual cycles remain ignored.

COVID-19 and Bank Behaviour

The article analyses the impact of the pandemic on the banking sector in India. Utilising data on Indian banks, it addresses two questions: fi rst, what was the magnitude of the impact on bank lending across ownership? Second, what was the impact on their costs and returns? This article is one of the early exercises to examine the impact on banks’ balance sheets in the Indian context.

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