India Speak Episode 5: Realities of COVID-19 in Rural India

25 June 2021

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic saw rural parts of India get affected as well, unlike the previous year during the first wave. In this episode of India Speak, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) speaks to Anurag Behar (Chief Executive Officer, Azim Premji Foundation) to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the hinterlands. How are people in those areas responding to the pandemic? What are the economic consequences beyond just the health consequences they face? 

Behar walks us through his experiences over the last few months visiting different parts of the country that were ravaged by the virus. He sheds light on the stigma associated with COVID, the challenges of documenting death, and the state of India's health infrastructure. He further discusses the levels of economic deprivation, condition of hunger, the potential for schools reopening and more. Finally, Behar share's his perspective on what we need to do now, in advance of a potential third wave. 

About the Series

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic poses serious challenges that need immediate attention. The collapse of an already strained health system, vaccine supply shortage, an unprecedented economic crisis and sharpening inequality, are factors that raise crucial concerns. How must India confront this crisis? The Centre for Policy Research (CPR) brings leading experts to discuss what the country’s response should look like in a new podcast series, India and the Pandemic.

Listen to other episodes in this series:

For more information on the Centre’s work, follow CPR on Twitter @CPR_India or visit


The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.