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There are over 700 districts in India. More than 51 lakh (5 million) frontline workers, government administration and health staff, among others, were pressed into service to battle the pandemic. They are also responsible for implementing longstanding government welfare schemes and programmes. Below is a sample of some profiles. 


Anganwadi Workers

Auxiliary Nurse Midwives

Honorary workers, they are health activists and community health workers who work as part of the National Health Mission, India's longstanding public heath programme.  


Routine Tasks: Create awareness on health; Counselling; Taking people for referrals; Mobilising the community for various health initiatives

Pandemic Tasks: Door-to-door screening; Monitoring of positive cases; and Reporting of new arrivals

Number of ASHAs country-wide: 9,29,893 (as on 31 March 2019)

 Source: Rural Health Statistics 2019

Honorary workers, they assist on the government's major nutrition and early education programme - the Integrated Child Development Services. 

Routine Tasks: Usually women, AWWs run the Anganwadi centre located in every village to deliver nutrition and early education services to children below 6 years of age, and breastfeeding and pregnant women 

Pandemic Tasks: Door-to-door screening; Monitoring of positive cases; and Reporting of new arrivals

Number of AWWs country-wide: 13,20,858 (as on 30 June 2019)

 Source: RTI response by Ministry of Women & Child Development, dated 9 December 2019 

A village-level female health worker, she is the first contact person between the community and government health services.


Routine Tasks: Works in the village Health Sub-centre or at the Primary Health Centre. Responsible for -Immunisations; Family Planning services; Treatment of minor injuries and First aid in case of emergencies 

Pandemic Tasks: Door-to-door screening; Monitoring of positive cases; First responder diagnosis and referral

Number of ANMs country-wide: 2,51,040 (as on 31 March 2019)

 Source: Rural Health Statistics 2019

The ASHA, Anganwadi Worker and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife are supposed to work in close collaboration. They are viewed as the triad of last mile government health and nutrition service delivery in a village. 

Lady Supervisors

Panchayat Secretaries 


A Lady Supervisor is a key functionary of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme and is a bridge between the Block-level official known as the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) and the Anganwadi worker (AWW) at the village level.  

Routine Tasks: Manages Anganwadi workers and operations of Anganwadi centres 

Pandemic Tasks: Managing and allocating Anganwadi workers for the pandemic effort; Conducting surveys, and reporting back to higher-level authorities; Distributing ration 

Number of Lady Supervisors country-wide: 35,939 (as on 30 June 2019) 

 Source: RTI response by Ministry of Women & Child Development, dated 9 December 2019 

They are appointed as an administrative functionary at the Gram Panchayat level. They are critical to the functioning of the Gram Sabhas, and hence servicing local needs.

Routine Tasks: Conduct Gram Sabhas; Perform administrative and executive duties for implementation of development schemes; Making arrangements for recovery of taxes;
Issuing licenses by the Panchayat; Guiding field staff  

Pandemic Tasks:  Organising awareness activities; Maintaining records of arrivals; Carrying out tasks assigned by the Block Development Officer

Mukhiyas (Sarpanches) are elected representatives and the chair of Gram Panchayats. These are village-level units for local self-governance.  



Routine Tasks: Plays a key role in participatory planning, budgeting, administration and monitoring of development and poverty alleviation programmes.

Pandemic TasksDaily reporting to Block Deveopment Officer about arrivals; Engaging in Public awareness activities; Maintaining essential activities in a village

Block Development Officers

Block Medical Officers

Block Education Officers

They are state-level civil servants. They act as the official in-charge of the Block (below the district administration in hierarchy), and also function as the secretary of the Block Panchayat or Panchayat Samiti.

Routine Tasks: Responsible for monitoring of programmes meant for the development of Blocks

Pandemic Tasks: Lockdown implementation and social distancing; Collecting information from Panchayats; Managing quarantine facilities and disinfection check, and timely disbursal of entitlements to government scheme 

Vacancy: As per a 2017 study, on average, a BDO office had just 23 full-time employees per 1,00,000 rural residents. Nearly 42% of all sanctioned positions were vacant.

The BMO is responsible for providing patient-centred and holistic medical care in a Block. They have to monitor implementation of government health schemes. 

Routine Tasks: Ensuring adherence to appropriate medical protocols; Liaising with other health professionals; Audits; Conducting relevant training and staff meetings

Pandemic Tasks: Daily monitoring of positive cases; Checking for symptoms in those who have been
quarantined; Sharing of status reports with the District Health Department 

They are responsible for all teaching and other staff in government schools in the Block. They have to ensure education schemes function as per procedure.


Routine Tasks: Inspection of facilities; Promotion, appointment, and extension of relevant staff; Maintenance of accounts, liquidation of advances and review of
monthly expenditures

Pandemic Tasks: Keep check on distribution of relief items such as rice by school staff (headteachers etc.); Coordinating on teachers' duty; Ensuring online classes for government school students

Child Development Project Officers

District Magistrates

They are in-charge of the implementation of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) at the Block-level.  

Routine Tasks: Preparation of village and urban-centre ICDS plans; Working with the district administration, sector and village level functionaries, and Panchayati Raj institutions to facilitate and coordinate the release of funds and delivery of ICDS services

Pandemic Tasks: Coordinating ICDS workers on the pandemic effort; Ensuring maintenance of key nutrition schemes  

No of CDPOs: 5,037 (as on 30 June 2019) 

Vacancy: As per our analysis, as many as 29% of CDPO positions were lying vacant as of June 2019.

 Source: RTI response by Ministry of Women & Child Development, dated 9 December 2019 

IAS cadre civil servants, on-paper the primary role of the District Collector or Deputy Commissioner (DC)/District Magistrate is the collection of revenue. In-practice their duties are wide-ranging.

Routine Tasks: General administration; Land and revenue administration; Supervision of welfare and socials security; Maintenance of law and order, Conducting elections, and Disaster management

Pandemic Tasks: Under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, they were given additional powers to prevent further spread of the contagion and ensure essential services are unhindered  

Doctors & Health Staff

Administration and Police Staff

The contribution of government doctors and health staff has been immense. They have been allocated various duties, including diagnosis and treatment.


In most states during the lockdown, access to private treatment was disrupted, and government health services were the only functioning facilities available. 

For the system to keep going on services such as food distribution and relief, administrative staff (including job roles related to excise) were engaged in the pandemic effort within districts.


Police personnel too were deployed to maintain the law and order situation, and ensure adherence to mandated protocols.

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