The unprecedented nature of the crisis threw most world governments off-kilter as cities scrambled to contain the virus without the luxury of time or the benefit of reflection, analysis, or consultation. India was no different, and our cities, with their high population density and cramped spaces, became hotbeds of infection. Indian cities had no option but to plunge headlong into grappling with this virulent virus.
We were thrust into the battlefront unprepared, and decisions had to be made quickly. Some of the actions taken were unorthodox. In hindsight, certain situations could have been handled differently, but time was of the essence, and the administration had to hit the ground running, learning along the way. Saving lives and reducing human casualties was the priority —everything else came later.
The Smart Responses to COVID-19: How Indian Cities are Fighting through Action and Innovation (Volume I) compendium is an attempt to showcase how urban India has responded to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The first installment of a 2-part series, the compendium spotlights innovations at the city-level.
A compendium (in two parts) of the innovative practices adopted by cities; this publication offers a window into how 25 smart cities are working to counter the pandemic. The learnings and insights are staggered across five key categories of action — Tracking & Monitoring, Diagnostics, Sanitization, Awareness & Capacity Building, and Citizen Support. Many of the practices documented here have the potential for wider deployment and can serve as powerful tools in our arsenal —in our fight against COVID-19.