This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

An Overview Of The Catastrophic Second Wave In Himachal Pradesh And Uttarakhand

More from IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has deeply affected Indian states and Union Territories, and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been no exception. Due to issues like lack of infrastructure and human resources, both rural and urban citizens were caged in the web of grief and misery wherein, even to see for the last time one’s loved ones who succumbed to the coronavirus became an act of privilege.

Himachal Pradesh

Focusing on the Rural Realities around the country during the pandemic, the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organised a panel discussion on ‘Rural Realities| Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Practitioner’s Experience in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages‘ on May 17, 2021.

This article is an excerpt of the presentation given by Mahima Kapoor and the IMPRI team, who provided an overview of the Covid-19 situation in India with special reference to Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to set the context for the broader discussion on the topic by the esteemed panellists.

About Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Himachal Pradesh (HP) is a state in Northern India. According to the 2011 Census, the State houses a population of 1.01 crores divided into approximately 12,000 villages and 659 cities. On January 25, 1971, HP was made a full-fledged State, bordering Jammu and Kashmir to the North, Punjab to the West and South-West, Haryana to the South, Uttarakhand to the South-East, and China to the East.

Screenshot 2021 06 28 at 6.41.23 AM
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

Uttarakhand was formed on November 9, 2000, as the 27th State of India, when it was carved out of northern Uttar Pradesh. Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges, it is largely a hilly State, having international boundaries with China (Tibet) to the North and Nepal to the East. Its population of one crore is divided among 13 districts and 115 cities.

image 16
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

To its Northwest lies Himachal Pradesh, while to the South is Uttar Pradesh. It is rich in natural resources, especially water and forests, with many glaciers, rivers, dense forests and snow-clad mountain peaks. Char-Dhams, the four most sacred and revered Hindu temples of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, are nestled in the mighty mountains of Uttarakhand.

Both the States are top-performers in the Human Development Index. In the Sustainable Development Goals Index, Himachal Pradesh ranks second and Uttarakhand eleventh amongst the States in the country. According to data on per capita income, Himachal Pradesh ranks fourteen and Uttarakhand eleventh nationally.

Screenshot 2021 06 28 at 6.50.07 AM
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

The States house the majority of their population in rural areas, but the proportion is very diverse. While HP houses 90% of its population in rural areas, Uttarakhand houses only 69%, closer to the national average of 69%. Both the States perform better in terms of sex ratio and literacy rate than the national average.

The Second Wave Of Covid-19

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the States were well-placed in the country, both in terms of positive cases and fatalities, as compared with other States in the country. The peak in Uttarakhand was two months before HP’s and the number of cases were almost double in this State as compared to its neighbour.

image 17
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

The handling of the pandemic was not equally bad as both States had a doubling time well below the national average. The positivity rate remained low for HP than the national average, but the same was not observed in the case of Uttarakhand.

Screenshot 2021 06 28 at 6.53.11 AM
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

In the second wave in HP, the worst-hit districts have been Solan, Hamirpur and Kangra; in Uttarakhand, worrisome statistics were coming from Dehradun, Nainital and Haridwar. Both the States had a doubling time of eight days during the peak of the second wave. The peak herein was attributed to Kumbh Mela and tourism.

Screenshot 2021 06 28 at 7.00.51 AM
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

During the second wave, HP ranked second in the percentage of rural cases being reported by the States nationally. Uttarakhand was also facing a migrant crisis when most people returned to the State, especially in the districts of Almorha and Garhwal.

image 18
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

As of May 17, 2021, the total number of patients who tested Covid positive in HP stood at 1,60,240, the total number of active cases were 36,909, and the total deaths reported were 2,311. For Uttarakhand, total cases as of May 17, 2021, were at 2,87,286, with a total of 78,802 active cases and 4,811 deaths.

Counting The Dead

Uttarakhand reported four times the number of fatalities as compared to HP during the first peak of the Covid-19 pandemic alone. Yet, the case fatality rate remained below the national average in both the States. During the second wave, there was a sharp rise in the reported fatalities in both States.

Emerging Issues

The lives and livelihood of people in both the States have been deeply impacted. With tourism taking a hit and religious sites being closed to contain the pandemic, the economy of the States is in turmoil. Uttarakhand also has to cater to a large section of its population that has returned following the first lockdown.

Screenshot 2021 06 28 at 7.06.32 AM
Source: IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk

Both the States are facing a vaccine shortage, even as the vaccine wastage for them is approximately 1.5%, which is well below the national average of 17.6%. Uttarakhand had decided to float an international tender. To add to the concerns, the State has reported cases of medicine shortage. The health infrastructure of both the States has been under major stress during the peak of the Covid waves.

In order to minimise the impact of the second wave and prepare for a third wave, issues of lack of oxygen, health infrastructure and vaccination, which has also added to the financial burden on most rural as well as urban households, need to be addressed in moving towards healthy and prosperous Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

YouTube Video for Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Contributors: Ritika Gupta, Sakshi Sharda, Ishika Chaudhary, Kashish Babbar, Mahima Kapoor, Swati Solanki, Chhavi Kapoor, Arjun Kumar and IMPRI Team

Image has been provided by the author.
You must be to comment.

More from IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Similar Posts

By Saumya Rastogi

By Ehsan Mohammadi

By Charkha Features

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below