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Dear Reader,

The COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented in its scale and speed, presenting challenges to governments, both local and national, and for the overall containment and medical efforts that are being undertaken. The implications of this will be far reaching, particularly on the socio-economic narrative of the country.

In this special edition of the Research Monthly, we would like to highlight some of the urgent and immediate conversations around COVID-19 that IIHS researchers and staff have been involved in. These conversations have emerged through active engagement on ground and at the policy level, our past and current research, and our engagement with public discourse.

Recognising that the implications of COVID-19 are not limited to public health alone, but rather apply to complex inter-connected urban systems, we have curated some of our ongoing and previous work on public health, and economy and labour that examine questions of inequality, unemployment, social protection and access to services—questions that are now more relevant than ever.
 
As always, do continue to join our conversations on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter and visit our Website for more information.

Aromar Revi 
 
IIHS Researchers on COVID-19
 
COVID-19 is beyond a public health crisis. It poses a severe challenge to the social, political and economic fabric of our society. IIHS researchers are examining the repercussions of this crisis using insights from their individual research. Here, we present some of the analytical pieces written by our researchers on the implications of COVID-19, particularly on public health and the informal economy.
 
 
 
Services at our doorstep
Aditi Surie on how delivery service personnel are at risk of exposure to the virus and need recognition and protection for the public service role they play in these times. Aditi was invited to be a part of the podcast ‘COVID 19 & the city’, organised by Hyderabad Urban Labs, where she discussed the impact of the crises on platform-based workers. Listen to the podcast here.

How the Coronavirus outbreak is also a socio-economic inequality issue
Neethi P,  IIHS and Anant Kamath from Azim Premji University, on what the COVID-19 outbreak means for the informal sector workers who lack social security.
 
As millions face food deficit, PDS needs to look beyond income to provide provisions
Keerthana Jagadeesh and Shriya Anand write on the question of food security during COVID-19 and argue that the Public Distribution System needs to look beyond just income to provide provisions to those who need it during these times.

Covid-19: When will states run out of beds?
Arjun Srinivas uses a data-driven approach to present the state of health care infrastructure in India and raises questions on the ability of the states to tackle this pandemic.


Individual action versus systemic change: lessons from COVID19 for climate change
Chandni Singh on the importance of individual action during the pandemic.
 
Aditi Surie provides expert opinion on the protection afforded to delivery persons in this article by The News Minute.  
Why the issue of migrant security should be a top priority in India's Covid response
Gautam Bhan explores four possible approaches for immediate relief and near-term recovery over the next six months. Gautam was also invited to participate in a webinar, ‘Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Urban Informals in India’ organised by Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA). Watch the webinar here.
 
 
Coronavirus: India’s lockdown has led to chaos because the government misunderstood how cities work
Jasmitha Arvind, IIHS and Vinita Govindrajan on the outcome of the government’s execution of the lockdown.
 
 
Covid-19 package: It’s like trying to cure patient on verge of cardiac arrest with physical exercise
Kinjal Sampat writes that if relief has to compensate for the absence of sustained programmes, institutions, infrastructure and delivery mechanisms, it runs the risk of being inadequate and misdirected.
 
Understanding the implications of the COVID-19 lockdown on migrant workers’ children
Divya Ravindranath, IIHS and Umi Daniel on the implications of the COVID-19 lockdown on the children of migrant workers.
 
Rent control amidst pandemic
Swastik Harish and Rasha Lala on the relevance of rent control laws during the COVID-19 lockdown.   
 
 
Selected literature around Public Health, Informality, Labour and Employment
 
A public health crisis like COVID-19 has repercussions far beyond immediate health concerns. As we think about rebuilding post-COVID, here is a selection of IIHS research bringing together questions on health in cities with work on informality, labour, employment and social protection. These highlight the already precarious nature of our urban settlements, and the breadth of the task ahead.
 
 
 
Peer-reviewed publications:
 
Association between architectural parameters and burden of tuberculosis in three resettlement colonies of M-East Ward, Mumbai, India
Namrata Kapoor and colleagues investigate the prevalence of tuberculosis in resettlement colonies in Mumbai. The study found that persons living in houses with poor ventilation were at a higher risk of contracting tuberculosis.

Informal work and maternal and child health: a blind spot in public health and research
Gautam Bhan, Aditi Surie and colleagues write on the gaps in public health and research, based on their work on maternal and child care practices of informal workers

Nutrition among children of migrant construction workers in Ahmedabad, India.
Divya Ravindranath and colleagues focus on the overall nutritional well-being of children of migrant construction workers.

Moving in and out of vulnerability: interrogating migration as an adaptation strategy along a rural-urban continuum in India
Chandni Singh and Ritwika Basu on the vulnerabilities faced by migrants as they traverse rural and urban areas.

Migration as a driver of changing household structures: implications for local livelihoods and adaptation
Chandni Singh on how the risks faced by men and women duration migration are diverse.

Migration and household adaptation in climate-sensitive hotspots in South Asia
Chandni Singh, Arjun Srinivas and colleagues present an overview of migration across South Asia.

Needs assessment study of occupational and health hazards faced by desludging workers in a city in India
This Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) study looks at the occupational hazards faced by desludging workers. The study also seeks to understand the relevance of legally mandated PPE and challenges for its usage.

Urban Science: integrated theory from the first cities to sustainable metropolises
Aromar Revi and colleagues on ‘Urban Science’’ and its approach in studying global urban challenges.
 
Op-eds:  
 
 
How labour conditions at construction sites are leading to higher rates of child malnutrition
Divya Ravindranath on the high rates of malnutrition among children at labour construction sites.

To work or breastfeed: tough choice sets back women in India’s informal economy
Antara Rai Chowdhury and Aditi Surie on the lack of maternity protection for mothers in the informal sector.
‘Wasn’t this city made for you and me?’ Sex workers and their shrinking spaces
Neethi P, IIHS, and Anant Kamath, Azim Premji University, on the displacement of street-based sex workers and transgender persons from public spaces in Bengaluru.

Beyond preparedness
Vineetha Nalla and Nihal Ranjit on the prerequisite to include long-term recovery in the Disaster Management Act.
 
Conversations on COVID-19
 
IIHS constantly strives to deepen public engagement and knowledge on urban issues through a range of events, talks, seminars and conferences. We also have an active social media presence where we disseminate new research and engage in conversations on the urban. To join our conversations, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Our researchers have been actively using their social media platforms to offer insights on the effect of the COVID-19 crisis. You can connect directly with some of them on Twitter as they delve into the repercussions of the pandemic, through their individual research.
 
 
Aromar Revi @AromarRevi
Aditi Surie @sosurie
Amogh Arakali @amogharakali  
Chandni Singh @_chandnisingh
Divya Ravindranath @divyarrs
Gautam Bhan @GautamBhan80  
 
Curated Conversations @IIHS
 
 
Over the last decade, several researchers and practitioners have presented their work on our public fora—Publics@IIHS. This space allows for scholars to present new work, and provides an opportunity to disseminate academic knowledge to the public. Here, we highlight some sessions that address questions of public health, migration and sustainable development:
 
Upendra Bhojani, Director, Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru
 
A city-led strategy for sustainable development
David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
 
Urbanisation, demographic transition, and the growth of cities in India, 1870-2020
Chinmay Tumbe, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
 
 
In addition, we have also curated panels on health, informality and economy, from Urban ARC, our annual research conference, that provides a space for conversations around issues of the urban in the global south.  
 
 
 
Urban ARC 2020: Equal Cities
Urban ARC 2020: Equal Cities  
Risk creation in urban areas
Urban ARC 2017: City in Transition
 
Urban ARC 2019: City and the Region  
 
 
© 2020 Indian Institute for Human Settlements

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