Women fared worse than men when it came to job recovery post-lockdown: Survey
A continued and expanded allocation for MGNREGA, as well as the introduction of an urban employment scheme in the upcoming Budget, was crucial for addressing livelihood crisis in the country, suggested the second round of COVID-19 Livelihoods Survey conducted by Azim Premji University in partnership with six civil society organisations.
The survey carried out during October, November, and December 2020, found that more than two-thirds (69%) of those employed in February had lost work during the lockdown.
Even six months after the lockdown, the economy was yet to recover entirely from the shock of COVID-19. One-fifth of those employed before the lockdown were still without work. Earnings have recovered for those back to work, but the situation was distressing for those who cannot find work, as per the survey. Out of every 100 workers, the study found, only 26 remained unaffected by the lockdown. Some 55 people managed to recover lost jobs but 15 had still not registered any recovery.
As per the survey, women workers fared worse than men when it came to employment recovery (53% versus 57%). Urban areas had been worse hit despite a quicker bounce back. Nine in 10 households reported cutting back on food consumption during the lockdown. Six months later, only one third reported that consumption was back at pre-lockdown levels. Urban households were worse off with 28% reporting that food consumption was still at lockdown levels as against 15% rural households.
“Our findings suggest that a continued expanded allocation for MGNREGA, as well as introduction of an urban employment scheme in the upcoming Budget, are crucial for addressing this livelihood crisis,” the survey observed. Given the weakness in food and earnings recovery, there was an urgent need to expand the scope of the current PDS, it recommended.
The initial survey carried out in April-May covered nearly 5,000 respondents, mostly from informal and vulnerable households. Some 2,778 of these respondents from across 12 States were part of the second study and were re-interviewed to understand what economic recovery meant for self-employed, casual, and regular wage/salaried workers.