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COVID-19 reveals strength of states to deal with crisis: World Bank official

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the strength of the states and their ways to deal with the crisis in a federal structure, World Bank Country Director for India Junaid Kamal Ahmad said on Wednesday.

In an interactive session organised by industry body PHD Chamber, Ahmad said the economies of India and some neighbouring countries remain largely informal unlike the developed countries of the US and that in Europe.

"What is revealed is that our health systems were not ready to deal with the pandemic of this scale...I think that it is a very important lesson to learn going forward," Ahmad said.

However, given the huge number of casualties in the US specifically New York and Italy in Europe, their health systems too could not handle well the pandemic of this nature.

The World Bank India Country Head lauded the efforts of Kerala in effectively dealing with the pandemic as it has a very strong system of working closely with its community organisations including those at panchayat level.

"Kerala has done extremely well, particularly strong cultural, panchayat and community organisations. It was able to deal with this as part of our system very differently from the West.It reveals the fault lines and how states are engaging...Kerala has that history of engagement," Ahmad said.

He said the pandemic has in a way led to re-emergence of states and their presence is being felt in the federal system of India. Giving example, Ahmad said the way of dealing with the coronavirus is very different in Kerala from that of Tamil Nadu while that of Tamil Nadu from Bihar.

"I think that this emergence of states should not be under-estimated because it really puts the onus on what is the nature of the state, what is the nature of the state going forward."

He said India must strengthen the federalism led ability of the states to respond to the pandemic.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 20 2020. 23:08 IST