The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency that has manifested into a political, humanitarian and ethical crisis of unforeseen proportions. It has been a time of collective hardship that has exacerbated and exposed pre-existing crises of capital, care, caste, gender, and climate. It has also been a moment to reckon with the various forms of vulnerabilities in the lives of millions of people, especially those who have been forcibly displaced and those who are working in the informal economy, categories which all too often overlap.
The study brings urgent attention to the limits of our systems and our processes, even our imaginations. We have seen that governments are struggling to respond effectively to the massive shock the system has had to bear, while the socioeconomic gains of the past few decades such as in reducing absolute poverty and food insecurity have suffered massive setbacks. At the same time, fissures based on caste, religion, gender are getting wider and deeper. We believe that this is a crucial moment for both policymakers and civil society to critically reflect upon and imbibe lessons about the policy choices we need to make, the tools we should deploy in crises, and the institutions and mechanisms we must build and strengthen to make our societies resilient. Systemic change of the kind that is
required for progress is only possible once structural fault lines are acknowledged and understood.
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