Dear Reader,

The pandemic has extracted a cost beyond the tragic loss of human lives. Its collateral damage, largely due to government apathy, has been significant, even if less documented by mainstream media. Over the past week, the Foundation’s grantees have continued to chronicle the pandemic’s impact on the lives of citizens and their fightback.

Down to Earth reports on a unique form of protest by the tribals in the remote parts of Odisha. Janjwar brings you a story on the state of artisans - sculptors and idol makers reeling under the lockdown. With no takers for their wares, they stare at debt and despair. And, The Wire analyses how the diversion of scarce public-health resources to the pandemic battle has broken the back of India’s essential health delivery.

Read on for stories that record the challenges of fighting the pandemic from our grantees.


Sunil Rajshekhar

To access previous issues, click here.

Odisha’s tribal heartland fights COVID injustices with writings on the wall

To protest against the abysmal state of the school infrastructure in Odisha, hit by the COVID-19 lockdown, about 6,000 villagers in Odisha have taken to a unique method of protest – writing on the walls of their houses. The villagers, a majority of them from the remotest parts of the state, and mainly tribal, protest the apathy of the government and plead with them to bridge the digital divide, through their writings on the wall. Down To Earth reports.

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खास रिपोर्ट: मूर्तिकारों पर गहराया आजीविका का संकट, सरकार से कहा हमें भी दो सब्सिडी, वरना हो जायेंगे खत्म

Janjwar speaks to sculptors and idol makers from various parts of India whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by the lockdown. Even the recent festivals, when the sales are maximum in usual years, has been a washout and has failed to rescue them. Now with hardly any takers for their wares, these artisans are reeling under mounting debts.

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How Can India Combat COVID-19's Collateral Damage?

Deaths by COVID-19 is not the only toll extracted by the current pandemic. The collateral damage of concentrating resources in the fight against the Coronavirus is now becoming all too clear. The Wire reports that the latest National Health Mission data shows a 64 per cent fall in child immunisation, a 50 per cent drop in BCG vaccination, a 39 per cent decrease in number of polio drops administered, and a 33 per cent drop in institutional deliveries.

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Saving Indian vaccine makers from Covid (pseudo) nationalism

The Ken analyses how the race to a vaccine, is inducing Indian regulators to turn a blind eye to vaccine development guidelines, even hinting at the possibility of emergency use authorisation, without stringer testing norms. The report says that this leap of faith on the part of the regulators may have dangerous consequences for both patients and manufacturers, including ‘vaccine denialism”.

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Flanked by fear & loss amid COVID-19: The story of Manipur's farmers

EastMojo travels to one of the largest vegetable markets in Manipur to report on how a lack of wholesale buyers, who usually buy from the farmers in bulk, and rampant logistical roadblocks, during the stringent COVID-19 lockdown in the state, has left farmers with no option but to let their produce rot or resort to distress sale.

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More from the grantees
9 reasons why Covid vaccine will be widely available in 2021
Unlike the HIV, where a vaccine is still elusive, we are poised to have a vaccine against COVID-19 in a few months. The Print tells you nine reasons for the optimism.
Higher disease burden on India’s elderly
EPW highlights the risk of higher disease amongst India’s elderly during the pandemic because of their co-morbidities. EPW explores the risks, based on data from the 75th National Sample Survey 2017–18.
A pandemic cannot justify child labour
India Development Review lays out the role that nonprofits and civil society can play in tackling child labour. Especially since the ongoing pandemic has added to the growing numbers.
The Scale of the Pandemic in India
Takshashila Institution’s analysts take you through the details of sero-surveys conducted in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune to illustrate the scale of the pandemic in India.
മൊബൈല്‍ റീചാര്‍ജിന് പോലും കൈയ്യില്‍ കാശില്ല; ഓണ്‍ലൈന്‍ ക്ലാസില്‍ ജീവിതം വഴിമുട്ടി ഗസ്റ്റ് അധ്യാപകര്‍
Guest lecturers and guest teachers in government-aided colleges in Kerala are in distress. Since the lockdown began and the online classes started they have been deprived of a salary and are left to fend for themselves. Dool News reports on their plight.
Accessibility For Women With Disabilities In Times Of COVID-19
Feminism in India highlights the various accessibility issues faced by persons with disabilities amidst the current pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
Video on old COVID guidelines shared to advise against the use of masks
A video in current circulation, put out by the Madhya Pradesh government, asking people to wear masks only on a ‘need-basis’, was fact-checked by AltNews to be from March 2020, as per the health guidelines prevailing then.
‘‘ப்ரிண்டிங் தொழிலுக்கு அழிவு இல்லை!”
Asiaville highlights the situation that the printing industry finds itself in, hit by the twin challenges of the transition to digital and the Covid-19 lockdown, by chronicling the decline of a 30-year-old printing house in Chennai.
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