Bengaluru

COVID-19 impact on livelihoods continues with job loss, reduced earnings, finds survey

A file photo of people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh waiting to return home  in Bengaluru,

A file photo of people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh waiting to return home in Bengaluru,

The impact of the pandemic on livelihoods has persisted far beyond the lockdowns. Without greater support, factors such as the long period of depressed earnings, lower food intake and debt/sale of assets will continue to hamper the ability of households to recover from the pandemic, found a survey by the Azim Premji University, in collaboration with nine civil society organisations.

The survey, the findings of which were released on Tuesday, was taken up to assess the continuing impact of COVID-19, induced lockdowns, and economic disruptions of employment and livelihoods.

A press release stated that the survey covered 2,841 households in settlements in 33 wards across eight zones in Bengaluru. Workers in a wide range of occupations such as drivers (cab, auto, and others), daily-wage earners (construction and others), domestic workers, and factory workers (garment and others) were surveyed.

According to the findings, 41% of workers surveyed had no work and another 21% had reduced earnings even in January and February 2021. By October 2021, 11% had still not recovered from job loss and women were impacted more.

In January and February 2021, earnings remained 10% below pre-COVID-19 levels. The report also said that 40% reported lower food intake during COVID-19.

Amit Basole, head of Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University and lead researcher of the survey team, pointed out that the ill-effects of the pandemic on livelihoods have particularly affected the vulnerable sections of society. There is a need for a focused and long-term policy response at the Central and the State level to help households emerge from the crisis, he said.

Hyma Vadlamani, core member of the COVID-19 response team, Azim Premji Foundation, said that the pandemic had shown how invisible the poor in the cities are and how weak the public systems are in reaching to the most vulnerable. There is an urgent need to revamp the city governance systems to address the inequities more systemically, she maintained.

Relief measures have had a mixed record of reaching the urban poor. While the public distribution system (PDS) had the widest reach, cash transfers reached few people and fell well short of what is needed.

The survey had showed that 55% households with BPL cards had received more than regular quantity of grains in all months since the second lockdown, while another 32% got additional grains for at least a few months. The percentage of households getting supplementary nutrition or alternatives from anganwadis and ICDS during COVID-19 (conditional to families with a child below 6 years and those with pregnant/ lactating mothers) went up to 38% from 24% (pre-COVID-19).

In the release, APU stated that immediate as well as medium- to-long term policy measures are needed to counter these effects and chart the path to inclusive economic recovery. In addition to continued extra rations from the PDS that was recently extended for another six months, more cash transfers, as well as the implementation of an urban employment guarantee programme, are urgently needed, the release added.

Fact sheet
41% of workers surveyed had no work and another 21% had reduced earnings even in January/ February 2021
Around seven months after the first lockdown was relaxed, unemployment was significantly above pre-COVID-19 levels at 47%; by October 2021, unemployment rate had recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels of 22%
By October 2021, 11% workers had still not recovered from job loss and women were impacted more
In January/ February 2021, earnings remained 10% below pre-COVID-19 levels. By October 2021, earnings recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels, but still short of pre-COVID-19 levels
11% households were forced to borrow for daily expenses or to repay older loans; 12% households could not borrow despite wanting to (higher for Muslims and OBCs)
15% households did not borrow, but sold/ pawned assets; 97% households sold/ pawned jewellery
40% reported lower food intake during COVID-19


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2022 12:59:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-impact-on-livelihoods-continues-with-job-loss-reduced-earnings-finds-survey/article65271221.ece