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  • In-Focus: COVID-19, uncertainty, vulnerability and recovery in India
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In-Focus: COVID-19, uncertainty, vulnerability and recovery in India

Source(s):  Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP)

This paper addresses COVID-19 in India, looking at how the interplay of inequality, vulnerability, and the pandemic has compounded uncertainties for poor and marginalised groups, leading to insecurity, stigma and a severe loss of livelihoods. A strict government lockdown destroyed the incomes of farmers and urban informal workers and triggered an exodus of migrant workers from Indian cities, a mass movement which placed additional pressures on the country's rural communities. Elsewhere in the country, lockdown restrictions and pandemic response have coincided with heatwaves, floods and cyclones, impeding disaster response and relief. At the same time, the pandemic has been politicised to target minority groups (such as Muslims, Dalits), suppress dissent, and undermine constitutional values.

This paper focuses on how existing inequalities and compounded uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated poverty and the vulnerabilities of India's marginalised social groups. This paper concludes that in facing future events, amplified by climate change, government agencies and organisations will need to develop new plans for preparedness, tailored to local and regional contexts, the vulnerabilities and circumstances of the population, and the diverse effects of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. Government agencies should not further politicise the pandemic and uphold human rights, including the right to dissent and free speech. 



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  • In-Focus: COVID-19, uncertainty, vulnerability and recovery in India
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Pickard, J.; Srivastava, S.; Bhatt, M.R. et al.
  • Number of pages 26 p.

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