Around 67% of workers lost jobs during the COVID-19 infused lockdown. Urban area posted a loss in employment for 8 in 10 workers and around 6 in 10 workers in rural areas, says initial findings of a phone survey conducted by Azim Premji University in collaboration with 10 civil society organisations. The survey covered over 4,000 respondents
The survey was done by Azim Premji University in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (Pune), Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, and West Bengal in order to gauge the impact of lockdown on employment, livelihoods, and access to government relief schemes.
Job loss was worst for self-employed in urban India, with 84% of people losing employment, as compared to 76% salaried workers and 81% casual workers. Whereas in rural areas, 66% of casual wage workers loss employment, followed by 62% of salaried workers and 47% of rural workers.
For non-agricultural self-employed workers who were still employed, average weekly earnings fell by over 90% from ₹2,240 to ₹218. Whereas for casual workers who were still employed, average weekly earnings almost halved from ₹940 in February to ₹495 during the lockdown, the survey noted. Half of all salaried workers, or 51%, saw either a slash in their salary or received no salary.
Around half (49%) of households reported that they did not have enough money to buy even a week’s worth of essential items, whereas 80% of urban households and 70% in rural areas reported consuming less food than before. According to the survey, over one-third, or 36%, of vulnerable households in urban India received at least one cash transfer from the government, while 53% of rural households received this benefit.