Sidharth Sihag

India has been taking stringent measures to battle the Coronavirus pandemic. As the virus disease has affected a huge number of people across the country an effective strategy is to act on the grassroots level. Considering the fact, district authorities across the country have been adopting impactful strategies to fight COVID-19. Speaking on efforts made by Jhalawar district authorities, Sidharth Sihag, IAS, Collector & District Magistrate, Jhalawar, Rajasthan addressed a webinar organised by Elets Technomedia.

Sihag began with informing that the first Corona positive case in the district surfaced on April 24, 2020. Speaking on the steps taken by the district to curb the menace of COVID-19 he said, “We are giving our focus on food security in the district as food security is linked with the livelihood and lively hood is linked with the overall security.” Further, Sihag regular efforts are being taken to spread awareness on how social distancing. Also, people are being urged to embrace digital operations as physical movements could act as carriers and transmitters of the virus, he added.

Talking about technology-powered initiatives during the lockdown, Sihag said, “We are already using e-office and we are using video conferencing to avoid the physical meetings. With the on-going lockdown due to the pandemic, we are observing that the digital channels are the preferred options to deliver a majority of our services.”

Adding on the technology aspect he said, “We have leveraged the technology very well in Jhalawar. Those who are in-home quarantine have been tracked by their name, number and location by an app. If they have been detected outside their quarantine area or the home automatically a report is being generated and been shared to all the collectors and sub-divisional officers.”

Speaking on the challenges faced, he said, “Initially the challenges we faced was the shortage of PPE kits. But now we have got a good number of PPE kits to cater to the need…Also, we have faced the shortage of masks, sanitizers but gradually that problem also was resolved and now we have enough of sanitizers and masks, he added.

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Highlighting the migrant issue, Sihag said, “Those who were depending on their daily income to survive were facing much of a problem. We have provided the essentials services to them and also to the migrant labours. For this, we took help the CM relief fund, the NGOs and the social workers. Till now we have distributed 35,000-40,000 ration packets and 2 lakh food packets among the needy people.”

Adding onto the labour issue and unemployment problem, Sihag added, “In our district, more than one lakh labourers have been deputed through NREGA which is solving the employment problem to some extent in this crisis.”

Industries have been already given relaxations to function in a limited manner in rural areas. Also, in urban areas, where industries are resuming functions, we have issued the order that only 33 percent of the workers can work in an office. In factories also we should keep the timing of the people different so that we can reduce the chances of people gathering more people at the same time, he added.

Turning his words towards testing that is being carried out in the district, Sihag said, “In our district, the testing has been increased from the beginning and till now we have tested more than 3000 people from the total population of 15 lakh. So, I think we are testing more than the national average.”

Concluding his address he said, “We are hoping that we will be having more data to deal with this crisis in future. Hopefully, some vaccine also will be ready till then.”


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