COVID-19 Policy Observatory

Dear Readers,

Sometime in late December, a new type of flu virus started spreading around the world, the first cases of this virus were discovered in the Chinese province of Wuhan and since then it has affected 298,262 people and has caused the death of 12,836 (as on 21/03/2020). This virus has been identified as COVID-19 and has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In India, the spread of this virus has been steady and the number of cases has climbed to 315 cases with 4 deaths reported (as on 21/03/2020).

To tackle this grave threat governments across the globe have responded through various policy interventions including a complete lockdown of affected areas like in Wuhan (China) and Italy or controlling the movement of people especially those traveling from affected countries or dramatically upgrading their health infrastructure as in the case of South Korea and Germany. One of the most important factors in tackling the spread of this virus is efficient and effective policy intervention. Owing to this the union and state governments in India are also ramping up their efforts to control the spread of the virus.

These efforts have especially seen an upswing in the last week, with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) releasing several advisories related to prevention methodologies and state governments across the country announcing a slew of measures, from suspending public transport to announcing relief packages for the unorganized workers. Here at the Institute of Public Policy (IPP), we are launching an observatory to track these policy interventions. This observatory will follow central and state governments and also prominent municipal bodies as to what all policy responses and strategies they are following to prevent, mitigate, prepare and respond to this threat.

For the purpose of observation we will be looking at various parameters that entail the governments’ response some of which are:

  • Communication and public information during the pandemic
  • Public service delivery in times of pandemic compared to normal times
  • Pandemic management and civil liberties: Impact on social justice and social equity
  • Economics and budget aspects of pandemic
  • Leadership challenges: Positioning of political leaders (both ruling and opposition) during the time of pandemic compared to normal times.
  • Health care/hospital management
  • The responsiveness from health professionals and reactions from the state
  • The responsiveness from the scientific community and reactions from the state
  • The responsiveness from civil society (NGOs) and reactions from the state
  • The responsiveness from corporates and reactions from the state
  • The responsiveness from Religions and reactions from the state
  • The responsiveness from media and reactions from the state
  • Coordination among different departments
  • Use of courts and judiciary in the time of the pandemic

The above parameters are not exhaustive and are merely indicative of the areas which we will be focusing on. For the purpose of more incisive and detail-oriented reporting, the observatory has assigned ‘State Observers’. These state observers will gather data from the states and also from large metropolitans. This will help us track the response of not just the central government but also state and municipal governments. The state observers will also act as a single point of contact (SPOC) for their assigned states and can be contacted for further information and help. A list of states/municipal observers and their assigned states/municipal regions are:

State Observer Contact DetailsAssigned State / Municipal Body
(Click on the State/District name to access
Uploaded Documents and Reports)
Abhiudaya Verma Bihar
Abhishek Pradesh
Akshay Ramesh More Goa
Anirban Paul Karnataka (Bangalore)
Ankur Mishra Maharashtra (other than Mumbai and Pune)
Apoorva Bantula Telangana (Hyderabad)
Bethamehi Joy Syiem Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram
Charan Preet Singh Delhi
Chitra Rajpal Delhi
Gowri Prasad K Karnataka
Iman Kalyan Baksi West Bengal
Jay Hajare Gujarat
Mathur Sathya J Tamil Nadu
Neel D’Souza Maharashtra (Mumbai)
Nikhil K Pradesh
Padmaja Sataluri Uttarakhand
Pragya Pasricha Punjab
Pranathi Sridhar Karnataka (Bangalore)
Rohit Ranjan Rai Uttar Pradesh
Sanjana Jharkhand
Sehrish Hazarika Odisha
Takshila Bhadana Haryana
Vidyabharathi Kerala
Vignesh M Kerala
Vinisha Meshram Maharashtra (Pune)
Yavish Gupta Rajasthan
Riddhi Kansalriddhi.kansal.99@gmail.comNagaland
Shagun Tyagityagishagun@gmail.comArunachal Pradesh, Tripura

Some of the states and union territories have not yet been assigned observers which we will be doing shortly.

The observatory will run from 30th January 2020 (when the first case was reported in India) to 30th May 2020. For the purpose of ease, the observatory will only focus on India and state governments in the country, while keeping the larger world happenings in the background. The observatory is a combined effort of students and faculty at IPP and will source its data from public sources like news reports, government orders, press briefings etcetera, we will also solicit responses and feedback from our readers. The observatory will update its data twice-weekly to keep the readers abreast of the decisions of governments.

The observatory will not act merely as a data reporting center but will also try to join the dots and develop a larger perspective on our response as a nation to this grave public health crisis. Our focus would mainly be on the policy decisions and we will refrain from reporting individual cases or their happenings.

The students and alumni of the institute are requested to strengthen this initiative by contributing documents and policy notifications issued by various governments. For this purpose we have created a folder on Google Drive where documents are being uploaded by the state observers. You can view the documents already uploaded and in the case of a missing document please send a mail to the concerned state observer. This will help us build a comprehensive observatory. The folder is divided into Central, Union Territories (UT) and states, under the UT and states folder we have further sub-divided it in different states which will help you in locating the documents with ease. Please find the link below for the folder:

COVID 19 Observatory folder for government order/notification/circular/official order/news reports etcetera.

We at the observatory sincerely believe that this small effort on our part can help us all in the policy community to understand the response of society to the crisis and create a framework for a future policy response to such situations.

Thanks and Regards,

COVID-19 Policy Observatory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *