The COVID-19 pandemic is a global inflection point in policymaking. It presents national and local governments with complex policy challenges on a scale rarely seen before. How can overburdened healthcare systems be upgraded in a way that best feeds into the public health ecosystem? How can cities be made resilient against crises that turn their strengths — density of population, reliance on public transport systems, migrant labour forces — against them? What is the right balance between public health concerns and privacy when it comes to healthcare data and digital surveillance?
Each of these and several other problems would be difficult challenges requiring nuanced, careful solutions at the best of times. Now, policymakers in India and elsewhere must confront them simultaneously, with each affecting the others and a severe economic shock further complicating matters. This makes finding the right answers orders of magnitude more difficult.
Paradoxically, the pandemic also presents an opportunity. The immense pressure it has placed on the policymaking process and public service delivery creates incentives for drastically overhauling the state's capacity to formulate complex policies and implement them effectively. IDFC Institute is working on several fronts — from economic analysis to public service delivery to data governance — to feed into this paradigm shift. The work involves research as well as documenting policymaking successes within and without India. And it also cuts across the Institute's projects and research pillars.