Study portrays a grim picture of labourers after lockdown

Ninety percent of those working under a contractor were not paid and 94% of those who were not under a contractor remained unpaid.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Only about 5% labourers earned ₹15,000 a month, 90% of those working under contractors didn’t get paid, 20% went completely out of food for seven days at a stretch, were some of the findings which were observed during a study conducted by Centre for Equity Studies.

Impact of lockdown

The study was conducted by the centre in collaboration with Delhi Search Group and Karwan-e-Mohabbat in which 1,405 labourers were interviewed from across the country to access the impact after 45 days of the nationwide lockdown.

According to the study, only 5.5% of them earned a monthly amount of ₹15,000 and also that women earned less than men. The study claimed that 46.8% of women earned less than ₹5,000 in the pre-COVID-19 period as compared to 14.8% of men.

Another observation made in the study was that while the popular belief was that migrant labourers were leaving the city thinking of limited employment opportunities, they found that there was negligible difference in the impact of lockdown irrespective of region.

“Contrary to expectations, rural and urban areas have very little difference in terms of job loss. This indicates that without adequate State support, it would be extremely difficult for the poor to survive in the lockdown period, irrespective of location,” the study read.

The study also claimed that 90% of those working under a contractor were not paid and 94% of those who were not under a contractor remained unpaid.

Feeding only children

The study also covered problems of hunger and stated that over 10% people went completely out of food for more than seven days while 50% said they were eating less in a day.

“At least 28 people [5.1%] reported that parents were skipping meals and they were only providing food for their children,” it said.

The study stated that while many people received support and relief material from NGOs, government initiatives and religious organisations, 24.6% did not receive any support at all.

Eviction scare

Another observation was that labourers were feeling scared of eviction if they went to avail government relief material.

“The crowd and mismanagement at the government distribution centres have become a barrier in itself. Even if they are willing to toss social distancing in the air, they are often threatened with eviction if they are found venturing to these centres as the landlord is afraid that they will bring back the virus,” the study read.

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An earlier version of the article incorrectly mentioned the Centre for Equity Studies was part of JNU. The reference to the University has been removed.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 12:31:30 PM |

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