On May 5, Mugdha Sinha, Secretary of Science & Technology for the Government of Rajasthan, joined USISPF members through USISPF’s ongoing webinar series. In a discussion moderated by USISPF Chief Operating Officer Gaurav Verma, Ms. Sinha spoke on the Government of Rajasthan’s COVID-19 response and relief efforts, and the role that technology has played in this response.
Speaking on the Government of Rajasthan’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms. Sinha highlighted the proactive creation of two committees shortly after the first lockdown was announced, to address the needs of people from other states stranded in Rajasthan during the lockdown and to develop a post-COVID-19 economic strategy. Now that the lockdown is in its third stage, relaxing restrictions on movements in some district and allowing businesses and factories to resume activities, the Government of Rajasthan is now working to help people from Rajasthan who have been stranded elsewhere, domestically or abroad. Ms. Sinha identified new challenges related to these efforts, such as screening and quarantine measures to prevent new outbreaks of COVID-19 and increased demand for rural jobs as migrant workers return to their homes, but highlighted that so far, Rajasthan’s containment efforts have been efficient, effective, and proactive. She also highlighted that these efforts have been calibrated to save lives without risking livelihoods.
In terms of how Rajasthan has leveraged technology in its COVID-19 response, Ms. Sinha noted that ‘e-governance’ measures were already in place prior to the lockdown, which eased the transition to working from home for government officials. As well as contact tracing apps and processes virtually connecting the Government of Rajasthan to its constituents, the state has leveraged technological solutions to continue providing public access to cultural activities such as museums, which also provides continued employment to artists and artisans.