Covid-19, uncertainty, vulnerability and recovery in India

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.

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