India currently has 33,050 corona positive cases, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat having the highest number of cases. Maharashtra with the highest number of 9,318 and 400 deaths has been considered the biggest hotspot in India.
The government on April 15 classified 170 districts as Covid-19 hotspots, those which have reported large outbreaks or multiple clusters of cases and 207 other districts as non-hotspot areas, these are the areas where only limited clusters of cases were reported.
This leaves more than 300 of the country’s 731 districts which were not affected by the pandemic as non-infected districts or green zones. Considering the debates over partial lifting of the lockdown, the Hindustan analysis has found that most of the districts are part of rural India, which are to see the ease of restrictions quite soon.
Although nearly every second district in the country is classified as a green zone, these districts are home to only a third of India’s population, according to the 2011 Census. Of India’s 1.21 billion people, about 376 million people live in the districts now classified as green zones.
These are predominantly rural areas, while nearly 69% of India’s population lives in rural areas, the share of rural population in the green zones is relatively higher at 84%. However, these numbers are close approximations considering the population figures since the last Census and some district boundaries would have changed.
The share of rural population in a state’s green zone districts is relatively higher than the overall share of rural population in the state.
For instance, the overall share of rural population in Maharashtra is 55% but the share of rural population in its green zones is nearly 74%. Kerala is the only exception to this among big states where the share of rural population in green zones is only 33% than its share in the total population 52%.
No big urban cluster is part of the green zones. In fact, there are a very few green zone districts with significant urban population, such as Yaman district of Puducherry, without any rural population, the uni-district union territory of Lakshadweep with 22% rural population, Kozhikode district of Kerala with 33% rural population and Imphal West district of Manipur with 38% rural population.
Also, there were more than 37 million people who had migrated between states for reasons other than marriage, according to the 2011 Census. Of these, only 13% (or 5 million) had migrated to any of the green zone districts.
More than half of the confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported from 15 predominantly urban districts of India including in Delhi and Mumbai. This points to the fact that it is the rural areas that are relatively less affected by the pandemic.