COVID-19 Livelihood Survey: Compilation of findings
This report presents the findings of the COVID-19 Livelihood Survey conducted by Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, in collaboration with Centre for Advocacy and Research, New Delhi; Gauri Media Trust, Bengaluru; Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samiti, Kolkata; PRADAN, New Delhi; Samalochana, Andhra Pradesh; Self Employed Women’s Association, Ahmedabad; SRIJAN, New Delhi; Vaagdhara, Rajasthan and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (its headquarters is in Ahmedabad, Gujarat).
The survey – conducted between April 13 and May 23, 2020 – studied the lockdown’s economic impact on nearly 5,000 self-employed, casual, and ‘regular wage’ workers. The respondents were selected through a ‘purposive sampling method’ to include workers from diverse locations and engaged in different kinds of work.
The survey covered 161 districts and seven large cities (Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Jaipur, and Pune) across 12 states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal).
The report discusses the survey’s methodology, its key findings and data specific to Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Pune, Delhi and Bihar.
Two-thirds (or 66 per cent) of nearly 5,000 respondents lost their employment between April 13 and May 23. Informal workers who were still employed during the lockdown saw their earnings drop by more than half.
The survey found that 81 per cent of migrant workers and 64 per cent of non-migrant workers lost their employment during the lockdown. More urban residents and migrants were affected than those in rural areas.
Roughly 77 per cent of households consumed less food than they did before the lockdown, and 47 per cent did not have enough money to buy essentials for another week.
Over 80 per cent of households surveyed were ‘vulnerable households’, or those that had a monthly income of less than Rs. 10,000 as of February 2020. The report states that 74 per cent of vulnerable households received rations, but 32 per cent of such households did not receive even one cash transfer.
The report notes that the certain groups – Muslims, Dalits, women, and those with lower levels of education – reported higher rates of food insecurity during the lockdown. A higher percentage of Muslim respondents (27 per cent) were unable to procure food than Hindu respondents (17 per cent).
Nearly 66 per cent of casual workers in rural areas lost their jobs; in urban areas, the earnings of such workers dropped by 53 per cent.
A majority of farmers could not sell their produce or had to sell it at lower prices. The report observes that it is unlikely that farmers have enough savings for seeds and fertilisers for the upcoming kharif season.
Of the 861 workers surveyed across 25 districts of Karnataka, 72 per cent reported having lost employment, and over 80 per cent of households reported consuming less food than before the lockdown. There was a 67 per cent drop in the average earnings of casual and self-employed non-agricultural workers.
The survey covered 307 workers in Pune, where 78 per cent of respondents – 86 per cent of male and 72 per cent of female respondents – reported having lost their jobs, and 67 per cent of salaried wage workers said they were not paid or received reduced salaries during the lockdown.
In Jharkhand, where 458 were surveyed across 11 districts, 58 per cent of respondents reported having lost their jobs, including 76 per cent of casual workers. Nearly 89 per cent of farmers were unable to sell their produce at full prices and 42 per cent of salaried wage workers reported that they were not paid or received reduced salaries during the lockdown.
The survey covered 503 workers across 14 districts in Odisha, where 67 per cent of respondents reported losing their jobs, 82 per cent of households reported consuming less food than before the lockdown, and 43 per cent of households did not have enough money to buy another week’s rations.
Focus and Factoids by Archana Shukla.
Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, in collaboration with Centre for Advocacy and Research, New Delhi; Gauri Media Trust, Bengaluru; Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samiti, Kolkata; PRADAN, New Delhi; Samalochana, Andhra Pradesh; Self Employed Women’s Association, Ahmedabad; SRIJAN, New Delhi; Vaagdhara, Rajasthan, and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India)
Azim Premji University, Bengaluru