Survey shows large-scale job losses, lower food intake amid lockdown

IANS
Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Livelihoods have been devastated at unprecedented levels during the lockdown and the recovery from this could be slow and very painful, the survey pointed out.

A survey conducted by the Azim Premji University has shown heavy job losses for informal and migrant workers in the four states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh due to the lockdown.

The disruption in the economy and labour markets in these states is enormous. Livelihoods have been devastated at unprecedented levels during the lockdown and the recovery from this could be slow and very painful, the survey pointed out.

It found that Covid-19 and its associated safety measures, such as the lockdown since March 24, have taken a heavy toll on the economy, particularly on the vulnerable informal and migrant workers and their families.

The survey measured levels of employment and earnings since the lockdown was imposed, and compared them to the situation prevailing in February. It covered self-employed, casual and regular wage/salaried workers.

The sample for the survey was selected using the networks of civil society organisation collaborators.

"The findings pertain only to the sample and are not representative of the entire state. Findings should not be compared across states," it said.

For the survey in Bihar (Rural) with 173 respondents, it said nearly half (46 per cent) of the respondents lost employment. Casual wage workers were more severely affected, with eight in 10 casual workers losing jobs.

More women (55 per cent) lost employment compared to men (35 per cent). More SC/ST workers (58 per cent) lost employment compared to OBC workers (35 per cent). Nearly seven in 10 households had to reduce their food intake during the lockdown.

The SC/ST households were the worst affected in terms of food intake as 85 per cent of them were consuming less food than before.

Nearly two in 10 vulnerable households did not receive rations. More than half (56 per cent) of the vulnerable households did not receive Jan Dhan cash transfer. Four in 10 vulnerable households did not receive any cash transfer, the survey said for Bihar.

For Jharkhand (Rural) with 458 respondents, the survey found that nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) respondents lost their employment. Casual wage workers were more severely affected with 76 per cent reporting loss of employment.

Nine in 10 farmers (89 per cent) were not able to harvest or sell their produce at full price. Four in 10 salaried workers (42 per cent) were not paid salaries or faced pay cuts during the lockdown.

For non-agricultural, self-employed workers and wage workers, who were still employed, average weekly earnings fell by two-third (65 per cent).

Nearly eight in 10 (77 per cent) households reported reducing their food intake during the lockdown. Casual wage workers were more severely affected with nine in 10 (93 per cent) casual wage workers reporting reduced food intake.

Six in 10 vulnerable households did not receive Jan Dhan cash transfer and more than half (54 per cent) vulnerable households did not receive any cash transfer.

In Odisha, the survey of 503 respondents found that two-third (67 per cent) respondents reported losing their employment. The urban self-employed people were the worst-hit with nearly all of them (96 per cent) losing their employment.

The earnings of casual wage workers and non-agricultural self-employed people who retained their employment fell by 80 per cent.

Nine in 10 farmers were unable to harvest or sell their produce at full price. Eight in 10 households reported consuming less food during the lockdown than before. Urban households and migrants were more severely affected with nine in 10 reporting reduction in food intake.

The ration distribution was good with nearly nine in 10 households receiving rations. However, seven in 10 vulnerable households did not receive Jan Dhan cash transfer. A quarter of vulnerable households did not receive any cash transfer.

In Madhya Pradesh (Rural) with 525 respondents, the survey found that almost half of the respondents (48 per cent) lost employment during the lockdown, and the worst-hit were the casual workers, with 65 per cent of them losing their jobs.

More than seven in 10 farmers were unable to harvest or sell their produce at full price. One-fourth of households did not have money to buy even a week's worth of essentials. SC/ST households were more constrained as compared to OBC and general category households.

Seven in 10 households were consuming less food than before during the lockdown. As many as 45 per cent of all vulnerable households did not receive Jan Dhan cash transfer. Nearly four out of 10 (36 per cent) vulnerable households did not receive any cash transfer.
 

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