India’s Containment Plan for Covid-19: Institutions & Functions

India’s political and administrative structure is large and complex. Over the last couple of days, I have been thinking about the institutional structure that the Union government has designed and deployed to control coronavirus’ spread in its 29 states with 736 districts and over 650,000 villages. These numbers are overwhelming considering the rapidity with which the virus is spreading.

On 4th April 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare uploaded the document that details out the containment plan. The document titled ‘Containment Plan for Large Outbreaks Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019‘ lays out the process will be followed here onward. I read the document to understand the institutions involved, functions and the flow of information between them.

Here is a schematic (pdf) I have developed from the document for those interested in understanding Covid-19 response in India. This is purely a scholarly exercise borne out of interest in governance and institutions. It is not meant to share information or analysis on the government’s response. The only source for information on the subject matter is government of India’s official websites.

Schematic Developed from Containment Plan for Large Outbreaks Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India

In the schematic, blue boxes are the functions that are articulated as Covid-19 response. The grey boxes are the ministries, agencies and other offices that are involved in the effort. Blue colour text indicates explanatory information.

The document includes protocols for rapid response, surveillance and other aspects of the pandemic. One imagines that the management part of the epidemic response has been well thought out. What concerns me is the resourcing – personnel available, machines, instruments, vehicles, protective gear etc.

Studying this plan and resultant outcome after the pandemic, should be a useful exercise for students of governance and public policy.

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