Despite the fact that over 74% of the population of Rajasthan lives in villages, a number of positive coronavirus cases coming from villages have so far been minimal in the state.
Proactive steps taken by Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot–who also has charge of the Panchayati Raj department—have played an important role in this.
As soon as Rajasthan reported its first COVID-19 case—that of an Italian tourist—on March 2, Pilot started to work out a strategy for curbing the spread of the deadly disease in rural areas.
Pilot ensured that sanitizers, masks and other necessary equipment were made available in rural areas.
For the safety of people living in rural areas, he allocated funds to Panchayati Raj institutions to fight the coronavirus infection.
Pilot says that Rs 60 crore is being spent on safety kits and spraying of disinfectant to effectively prevent the spread of coronavirus infection in the villages. Panchayati Raj Institutions have distributed materials such as sanitizers, masks, hand gloves among other such protective and safety equipments.
Rajasthan is probably the only state where spraying off and distribution of sodium hypochlorite has been done in rural areas.
Rajasthan has also undertaken works under MRNEGA in a big way in the state so that villagers earn money and it becomes easier for them to buy essential items including ration.
While reducing working hours under MNREGA because of heat, Pilot has also raised their remuneration. Till April 23, 7.10 lakh people had enrolled in MNREGA, which is nearly a ten-fold increase in a week’s time.