Recovery from COVID-19 to be painfully slow: survey

COVID-19 and its associated safety measures, including lockdown since March 24 have taken a heavy toll on the economy, and particularly on vulnerable, informal and migrant workers and their families.

After showing the mirror to Karnataka on the impact on livelihoods, Azim Premji University has now come out with the results of the survey for Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. The survey has revealed great disruption in the economy and labour markets. “While livelihoods have been devastated at unprecedented levels during the lockdown, the recovery from this could be slow and very painful,” the researchers have said.

In response to the findings of this survey, the team which conducted the study suggests a few measures to ameliorate the conditions of those most affected by the crisis.

The survey covering Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh showed over half the people losing jobs, while women being worse hit than men. Also, a greater percentage of SC/ST workers lost their jobs compared to OBC. Also, the workers have had to cut their food intake for lack of income. While there were income, a majority of them found the social security instruments like the Jan Dhan accounts much wanting.

The survey also threw up shocking data like Jharkhand’s rural casual wage workers having to cut their food intake.

Following the survey, the researchers have called for the universalisation of the PDS to expand its reach and implementation of expanded rations for at least the next six months. They also called for cash transfers of about ₹7,000 per month for two months. But, they said, “From a macroeconomic perspective as well, larger transfers are needed to bring back demand in the economy.”

They said, “Proactive steps like the expansion of MGNREGA, introduction of urban employment guarantee, and investment in universal basic services are needed.

Immediate as well as medium to long term, comprehensive policy measures are needed to counter these effects and chart the path to economic recovery, insisted the research team.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 11:11:54 PM |

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