Azim Premji University COVID-19 Livelihoods Survey

Phone surveys of 5000 workers across 12 states of India, to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on employment, livelihoods and access to government relief schemes was conducted.

Azim Premji University, in collaboration with civil society organisations, conducted phone surveys of 5000 workers across 12 states of India, to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on employment, livelihoods, and access to government relief schemes. Survey data as well as details, including organisations involved, are available on our website. State-wise survey data is available here. 

In this webinar, we will present the findings of our survey for the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the cities of Delhi and Pune. We will hear from our collaborators in these states and cities to understand what these findings mean in the context of the metros and villages that they work in.   

COVID-19 and its associated safety measures, such as the lockdown since March 24th have taken a heavy toll on the economy, and particularly on vulnerable informal and migrant workers and their families. Immediate as well as medium to long term, comprehensive policy measures are needed to counter these effects and chart the path to economic recovery. We hope that the survey findings will help in determining the extent and nature of policy interventions that are needed. 

We measured levels of employment and earnings since the lockdown was imposed and compared them to the situation prevailing in February. We covered self-employed, casual, and regular wage/salaried workers. We will soon be releasing a detailed report of these findings. 

The sample for the survey was selected using the networks of our civil society organisation collaborators. The findings pertain only to the sample and are not representative of the entire state. Findings should not be compared across states.  

In summary, the disruption in the economy and labour markets of these cities and states is enormous. Livelihoods have been devastated at unprecedented levels during the lockdown. The recovery from this could be slow and very painful.    

As a response to the findings of this survey, the team which has conducted the study, suggests the following measures to ameliorate the conditions of those most affected by the crisis: 

- Universalisation of the PDS to expand its reach and implementation of expanded rations for at least the next six months.  

- Cash transfers equal to at least Rs. 7000 per month for two months. From a macroeconomic perspective as well, larger transfers are needed to bring back demand in the economy.  

- Opening up of MGNREGA sites in keeping with physical distancing norms is urgently needed.  

-  Proactive steps like the expansion of MGNREGA, the introduction of urban employment guarantee, and investment in universal basic services are needed.  

- Investment in universal basic services are needed. 

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