PANCHAYATI RAJ institutions are at the forefront fighting the fight against Covid-19. Firstly, they are proactive in readying the infrastructure which includes converting anganwadis and local schools into quarantine centers or constructing makeshift hospitals. Secondly, the arrangement for massive movement of food grains using PDS system is worthy of praise. This has ensured that no one goes empty stomach by creating community kitchens. Thirdly, to maintain crucial hygiene and sanitation at village level, they are spraying disinfectants on a large scale and making roads clean through use of bleaching powder. Most importantly, they’re mitigating the biggest challenges of remote education by open air classrooms in villages using social distancing norms and have also communicated and assisted the state government who aired the lectures for students on DD Kashir and also motivated people to go for online learning as well.
Apart from this, they have ensured the availability of ambulance services for ill patients and have also directed the ASHA workers to assist and take care of pregnant ladies who are not able to reach hospitals.
Locally, women who were self-employed as tailors have been engaged in making homemade masks for the needy. House to house survey was also a breakthrough method that helped a great deal in contact tracing and data localisation.
But even with its own merits, Panchayati Raj institutions are not free from lacunas like inadequate and delayed funding, poor infrastructure, lack of systematic and transparent fund usage, shoddy capacity building and man power training measures.
With its demerits and merits, during the pandemic, they are undoubtedly serving as a bridge between the decision makers and the community at grass root levels.
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