GUWAHATI, June 16 - Social Science Research Community (SSRC), India, a self-sponsored platform constituted by researchers and scholars of social science from across the country, organised a national webinar on Tuesday on the theme �COVID-19 and Assam: Challenges to the Economy and Social Security�, according to a press release issued here.
Speaking at the webinar, Prof Binod Khadria, former faculty of economics, education and migration, Jawaharlal Nehru University, presented a comprehensive analysis on migration from the global to the local level. He suggested making Assam a hub of higher education to prevent students from migrating�out of the State for higher studies. He also called for raising the labour productivity of youth generations along with imparting quality vocational training in local crafts unique to Assam. He said, �The world has been very racist so far. Let Covid-19 help us come out of it. It is also high time to come out of the anxiety about the illegal migrants which is rooted in the psyche of sons of the soil.�
Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Head, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University and chairperson of SSRC, argued that the failure of the global community in general and India and its federating units in particular to mitigate the challenges emanating from COVID-19 primarily lies in the pursuit of limitless wealth by a microscopic minority and the widespread inequality and loss of livelihood sources by millions.
The paradigmatic shift of healthcare from its concerns for a decentralised and community-owned public healthcare system to a private and corporate-driven, technology-obsessive and urban and metro-centric health industry, intensified social insecurity that emanated from COVID-19. He emphasised more devolution of powers to the federating units and growth of a mutually reinforcing healthy and cooperative federal culture where the federal units enjoy maximum autonomy.
Dr Joydeep Baruah, Associate Professor at the OKD Institute of Social Change and Development, argued that the COVID-19 poses primarily two major challenges � challenges related to public health and those related to the economy. �The economic consequences of COVID-19 are expected to be disastrous, severe and all-pervasive,� he said. He added that overcoming the economic challenges presented by COVID-19 would necessitate a change in the nature of the state, and the consequent restructuring of the statecraft which needs to be looked at critically.
Dr Saswati Choudhury, Associate Professor at the same institute, observed that migrant workers, especially women, face a higher risk of losing their livelihoods as they mostly work in informal economy which is basically domestic and care work with insecure contracts and no paid leave or ability to work from home.
Attended by 100 researchers and scholars from across the country including Prof Manoranjan Mohanty (Delhi University); Prof Ujjwal Kumar Singh (Delhi University); Dr Santana Kanikar (JNU); Dr Swargajyoti Gohain (Ashoka University); Dr Dhananjay Rai (Gujarat Central University) and Rityusha Tiwari (Delhi University), the webinar was moderated by Dr Sreeparnaa Bhattacharjee Roy, vice president of SSRC and Assistant Professor of education, Assam University, the release added.