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NEW DELHI : Lockdown restrictions may have been lifted from all sectors, but at least 22% of female workers in the informal sector were still out of work during October-December, according to a new survey by the Azim Premji University (APU)

While almost 70% of men and women in the unorganised sector were out of work during lockdown, the recovery is far better for men than women with 22% of the female workers out of work in the post lockdown period as compared to 15% male workers.

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Considering that women working in informal sector is a financial requirement for their families, 22% staying off the work is a big number and indicates that the informal sector job recovery is very slow.

The survey further said fewer women got back their lost jobs compared to men. Of all the women employed in the informal sector, who lost their jobs during the pandemic, 17% did not see any recovery of their jobs. In case of men, 11% did not get back their lost jobs. Overall, 15% of the informal workers are yet to recover the lost jobs, six months after the lockdown rules were eased.

Like women, urban salaried workers in the informal sector were also one of the worst hit, the survey said, adding there is large unmet demand for national rural employment guarantee works and a similar scheme for urban poor.

It said since April, “only 55% of those who demanded work under the NREGA were able to get it and 98% of those who got work said that they would like to work for more days if work is available" and said that up to 67% of those surveyed favoured an urban employment guarantee scheme.

The survey said employment recovery had been uneven and urban India lagged behind. While 27% in urban India are still out of work, 14% in rural India faced a similar situation during the post lockdown period of October-December.

India has seen the worst jobs crisis since March and unemployment rate climbed up to 24% during the pandemic induced lockdown. Though things have improved since then, the situation is still far from a pre-lockdown scenario as economy is still struggling and demand has not returned to pre-lockdown period in several sectors.

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