Hyderabad, March 30 (IANS) The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) is helping gram panchayats across India with its modules and courses to monitor migrants returning from the cities due to the coronavirus-fuelled lockdown.

The initiatives are aimed at ensuring that migrants are adequately screened for COVID-19 infection, and quarantined where necessary and that no person goes hungry.

The NIRDPR is making modules/courses available, free of cost, on its newly-launched Learning Management Portal ‘Gram Swaraj’ for the benefit of representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

Another major objective of this initiative is to support gram panchayats and other PRIs functionaries to take care of the citizens in their communities by providing information, education and communication material for awareness campaigns against COVID-19.

The material would create awareness about safety measures such as regular washing of hands, maintaining social distancing and other directives issued by the Union Health Ministry and the state health departments.

Dr. W.R. Reddy IAS, Director General, NIRDPR, emphasized the need for local self-governments to rise to the occasion,

A”As part of the constitutional mandate, the Panchayats are familiar with the preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP). The GPDP has been an important element of ‘low cost’ or ‘no cost’ development initiatives which have transformed many Panchayats into progressive developed islands across the country. The present crisis of COVID-19 can be tackled by such measures using sheer imagination and passionate leadership of the Gram Panchayats,” he said.

He called for developing a system to provide food or rations to the migrant families who have come back from urban centres.

The measures suggested by NIRDPR include identifying 5 to 6 volunteers from among the rural youths, clubs, SHGs, NGOs, voluntary organizations to work in every ward under the leadership of the ward member.

They may undertake publicity and campaign measures through public announcements, keep a record of all such people who have a recent travel history either abroad or from urban cities, sensitise them to maintain home quarantine with due precautions, keep track of them to report thefirst symptoms of COVID-19 infection, if any, to the health authorities to shift them to medical isolation and treatment.

The NIRDPR suggested that every Gram Panchayat may identify in every ward the most indigent households having no stock of food and other essential requirements and link such households with one or more SHGs to provide them with cooked food or rations for subsistence by voluntarily mobilising the essential rations.




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