The second COVID wave that India is currently grappling with is believed to be far more aggressive and infectious than the first wave and this time it has badly affected the rural areas.
In the data analysed by SBI's Chief Economist Soumya Kanti Ghosh-- nearly half of the new cases in India are coming from rural areas. The share of rural districts in new cases increased to 45.5 percent in April and 48.5 percent in May compared to around 37 percent in March.
Another appalling data depicts the lack of healthcare infrastructure in rural India. For instance, there are only 61 beds available for one lakh people in India. That number goes down to just 17 beds in Bihar per lakh people and 29 beds per lakh in UP. The percentage of these beds in rural areas is even less and both these three states have large rural populations and are also currently seeing rising COVID cases.
So what do these numbers tell us? Will agriculture economy be a saviour for rural India? How poor is the healthcare infra in rural districts? And will lack urban remittances be a big concern for rural households?
To discuss this and more, Latha Venkatesh spoke to Harish Damodaran, Rural Affairs Editor of Indian Express and a Senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog and Sachchidanand Shukla, Chief Economist, Mahindra Group.For the full interview, watch the accompanying video