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02 November 2020

Examining the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on India

A new website from the King's India Institute presents a real-time picture of COVID-19's impact on individual states across India.

Two men wear face coverings while on emergency transport in India

India has been hit hard by COVID-19. The country currently has the second largest number of cases in the world after the United States.

A new website launched by the King’s India Institute presents a real-time picture of the social and economic impact of COVID-19 across states in India since the implementation (and subsequent relaxation) of one of the most stringent lockdowns anywhere in the world, which began on March 24th 2020.

In many respects India’s policy response to COVID-19 has been heavily centralised. Yet, in a federal system in which state governments have responsibility for public health and play a fundamental role in implementing social security policies, India’s emergence from the pandemic will depend crucially on the actions and capabilities of its states.

When COVID-19 arrived in India the initial response was led by the central government, but from the outset there was also intense activity at the state level. It was clear that the pandemic itself, as well as its social and economic ramifications, would vary across regions. With the DecovIndia project we wanted to track the evolving policy response to COVID-19 across states in India, and to begin to assess the different impacts across regions over time.

Dr Louise Tillin, Director of the King's India Institute

The DecovIndia project, led by the King’s India Institute, aims to understand how the decentralised (‘De’) policy response to COVID-19 (‘cov’) will shape the outcome of the pandemic in India in three domains - health, economy and social security.

The DecovIndia website uses a range of publicly available, real time data to illustrate the variation in health infrastructural capacity across states, the functioning of social safety nets and food supply chains, as well as the impact of the lockdown and its easing on business and industry across states. It also starts to chart some of the divergence in the design and operation of social security policies across states by analysing hundreds of official notifications collated by several organisations in India including PRS Legislative Research and Dvara Research.

Dr Louise Tillin, Director of King’s India Institute and DecovIndia Project Coordinator explains that the website presents “a picture of the unfolding social and economic impact of COVID-19 across Indian states from the time that the lockdown was imposed in March”.

The data presented on the website will be updated regularly. It is not the final word but rather an effort to capture a moving picture.

DecovIndia is a collaborative project with a research team based across India and in the UK. It has involved collaboration between the King’s India Institute, Trivedi Centre for Political Data (TCPD), Ashoka University and Mystic Parrot (for website development).

The project has been funded by grants from the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP) and the King’s India Institute, King’s College London.

DecovIndia Logo HD Dark 780X450

In this story

Louise Tillin

Professor of Politics

Sunil Mitra Kumar

Acting Director of the India Institute

Amrita  Dhillon

Professor of Economics