India’s COVID-19 Challenge: Assessing Health Services’ Response to a National Crisis

The most developed countries, despite their vast and advanced health care facilities still cannot effectively deal with the COVID-19 situation without a top-notch approach in policy making and implementation, as is the case with the USA. More importantly, there is a strong need for action to ensure that these policies do not hinder the extension of the non-COVID related health services to avoid an even worse state of public health. (more…)

The Draft Social Security Code, 2019: Illusion of Benefits for India’s Workforce?

By Abhiudaya Verma, Research Associate, Policy

With layoffs and pay-cuts starting in various firms all over the world, most economists are of the view that the economic crisis due to corona could be as bad as the 2008 financial crisis and that recession is inevitable. Experts also urged various Indian companies to avoid layoffs and pay cuts on humanitarian grounds and to provide a sense of security to their employees. But the neo-liberal world has imperilled the Welfare State values and in a pro-market economy it seems highly unlikely that firms would adopt the humane approach and face greater losses. In such times, it is the labour and social security laws that provide relief to the workforce of the country. The Government of India aims to bring a new labour legislation that would merge 44 labour laws under four categories– wages, social security, industrial safety & welfare, and industrial relations. The recent Social Security Code Bill, 2019 is one among the four consolidated laws.  (more…)

The COVID-19 Challenge: Tackling the Policy Plague of Social Inequalities

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

In late December, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission of China reported a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei province. Surfaced in the Chinese seafood and poultry, it was soon identified to be the novel corona virus. As of this writing, the corona virus outbreak has caused over 4 million cases and over 200,000 deaths worldwide. India reported its first case in Kerala on 30th January, 2020, a student from Wuhan. Since then India has reported over 70,000 COVID-19 cases. Over the last three months, India has taken multiple actions in terms of investments in healthcare, vaccine research, testing to deal with the ensuing pandemic. However, these are inadequate at social fronts, especially in a country like India where issues of social inequality are of utmost importance. (more…)

Access to Clean Cooking Fuel in India: Aspiring for Gas Pipeline while struggling for LPG

By Anushka Gutte & Mrigakshi Tandon, Research Associates, Policy

In May 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that aimed at providing 5 crore Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections in the name of women of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) household. Research suggests that only 18 percent of rural households in India have access to LPG as cooking fuel, whereas the rest use different, more tedious, unclean and hazardous means for cooking. Moreover, access to LPG connections is largely limited to the urban and semi-urban areas covering the middle income and affluent households. People belonging to BPL category or rural areas have little or no access to these connections. They predominantly use ‘chullahas’ where they burn wooden sticks in the stove for cooking, which makes these families, especially the females therein, vulnerable to harmful fumes. (more…)