Centre has asked states to take preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in rural India. In its letter to States, Panchayati Raj Ministry has suggested to sensitize and facilitate the Panchayats, Rural Local Bodies towards meeting the challenge and provide leadership to combat COVID-19.
The Ministry has advised to undertake an intensive communication campaign for the awareness of rural communities on the nature of the COVID infection and preventive and mitigation measures. It has also asked the states to take special care to dispel false notions and beliefs. The Ministry has told state governments to involve frontline volunteers from the local community for the campaign.
To provide real-time information on availability of testing, vaccination centers, doctors and hospital beds to rural citizens, the Ministry has advised state governments to leverage available IT infrastructure like Panchayat offices, Schools, Common Service Centers. It has suggested the Panchayats that wherever possible, they may improvise households as home quarantine locations, where maximum of the asymptomatic COVID positive cases can be managed. The Panchayats have been asked to set up specific quarantine, isolation centers for the needy and returning migrant labourers.
The Panchayati Raj Ministry directed the States to leverage various Central and State Government schemes towards the provision of rations, drinking water supply, sanitation, MGNREGS employment to provide relief and rehabilitation at the village level to the needy.
To deal with an emergency situation, it has asked the state government to establish proper inter-linkages with the medical facilities at the nearby District and Sub-Districts so that emergency requirements like ambulances, advanced testing and treatment facilities and multi-speciality care are provided to those in need without much loss of time.
Centre said an inter-departmental Monitoring mechanism comprising of officers of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Health, Revenue, Women and Child Development, Education Departments at Block, District and State level should be set up to regularly monitor the functioning of the Gram Panchayats and their Committees to tackle the COVID pandemic.