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An accurate count of mortality during pandemic is possible if a database is created on the basis of demographic principles and sound information, rather than epidemiological models based on suspect inputs and assumptions.

The manner in which Kerala treated its migrant workers during the COVID – 19 period attracted national attention. But why are they reluctant to return to their homeland during the lock down?

Keeping in mind the adverse impact of India’s rising population and its pressure on limited natural resources, the Population Control Bill, 2020, is to be tabled in the Upper House of Parliament soon.

This bill applies to all married couples qualifying a minimum age of 21 for the husband and 18 for the wife. Renewing the focus on the two-child policy, the bill proposes incentives for those with single child and disincentives for those having more than two children. Tabling such a bill seems ill-informed at a time when half of the Indian population is nearing replacement levels of fertility and there is rapid convergence of fertility levels between the rich and the poor, educated and the less educated as well as various other identities and attributes.

കോവിഡ് അതിന്റെ രണ്ടാം വ്യാപനം കഴിഞ്ഞു മൂന്നാം വ്യാപനത്തിലെ അതിമാരക ഡെൽറ്റ പ്ലസ് അണു പ്രസരണത്തിനു സാക്ഷ്യം വഹിക്കുകയാണ്. കോവിഡ് വ്യാപനവും അനുബന്ധ ആഗോള നിയന്ത്രണങ്ങളും തിരികെയെത്തിയ മലയാളി പ്രവാസി സമൂഹത്തിനു നിരവധി വെല്ലുവിളികൾ സൃഷ്ടിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നുവെന്നു പ്രവാസികളിൽനിന്നുള്ള വിവരശേഖരണത്തിൽ നിന്നും മനസിലാക്കാൻ കഴിഞ്ഞു. ഇത് പ്രവാസികളുടെ ജീവിതത്തെ എങ്ങനെ ബാധിക്കുമെന്നാണ് ഇന്റർനാഷനൽ ഇൻസ്റ്റിറ്റ്യൂട്ട് ഓഫ് മൈഗ്രേഷൻ ആൻഡ് ഡെവലപ്മെന്റ് ചെയർമാൻ ഡോ. എസ്. ഇരുദയ രാജനും തിരൂരങ്ങാടി പിഎസ്എംഒ കോളേജ് സാമ്പത്തിക ശാസ്ത്ര വിഭാഗം മേധാവി ഡോ. എസ്. ഷിബിനുവും പരിശോധിക്കുന്നത്.

While medical equipment may be obtained, skilled personnel are required to operate them. However, there is no credible resource that provides segmented data on personnel and infrastructure. In the absence of such data, tackling emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic becomes impossible.

For several decades, India has been a major exporter of healthcare workers to developed nations particularly to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Europe and other English-speaking countries. And this is part of the reason for the shortage in nurses and doctors. As per government reports, India has 1.7 nurses per 1,000 population and a doctor to patient ratio of 1:1,404 — this is well below the WHO norm of three nurses per 1,000 population and a doctor to patient ratio of 1:1,100. But, this does not convey the entire problem. The distribution of doctors and nurses is heavily skewed against some regions. Moreover, there is high concentration in some urban pockets.

Migrants contribute significantly to India’s GDP. Almost 90 per cent of Indians work in the informal sector, 75 per cent of whom are migrants, while vulnerable circular migrants manage most of the essential services. As of 2020, India has approximately 600 million internal migrants. The COVID-19 crisis displaced nearly 200 million migrants, of which 140 million had migrated to make a living. Family members who migrate with the breadwinner accounted for the rest of the migrant population.

The government must take up this issue with the relevant authorities in Kuwait to facilitate the smooth return of Indians after the travel ban is lifted.

Chinese universities provide full scholarships and minor scholarships for English-medium international students to study medicine. Although the number of scholarships is very small, it has still been successful as a strategy to attract Indian students, and hasn’t yet been emulated by other similar destination countries, such as Russia and Ukraine.

Post COVID-19, Kerala stares at the prospect of large-scale return migration from the Gulf. Scholar who led Kerala Migration Survey looks at trends, possibilities.