Survey reveals lockdown woes suffered by Bharat2 min read . Updated: 11 Aug 2020, 07:12 AM IST
- 68% of people faced monetary pain, but a majority back Centre’s handling of crisis
- The survey was conducted by news portal Gaon Connection and Delhi-based CSDS
NEW DELHI : There is overwhelming support for the way the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi handled the covid-19 crisis, according to a survey of 25,300 people from across 23 states and Union territories.
This support is despite people running up debts to run households because of loss of income, limited work for daily wagers, and the inability of farmers to sell their harvest on time and at a fair price.
More than 68% of the population in rural India faced a monetary crisis, while 78% suffered job losses because of stringent lockdown measures put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus, said the survey, The Rural Report, conducted by news portal Gaon Connection and Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies.
The findings were based on face-to-face interviews with respondents across 179 districts in India.
As much as 23% of the respondents were forced to borrow money to manage their households, while 8% had to sell a valuable possession such as a mobile phone or a watch, the survey found. Close to one-fourth of migrant workers who fled cities after losing their source of income following the virus outbreak said they had to walk home, it said. The survey said that 28% of migrant workers were not paid for the work they had done in cities.
More than a third of the migrants who had gone home were eager to return to cities for work, as only a fifth of them had found work under MGNREGA, which guarantees 100 days of work to each family.
About 71% of rural households reported a dip in income with the poor being the hardest hit, according to the report. Only 27% of the economically poor households, which did not have ration cards to access the central scheme for highly subsidized foodgrain, said they had received wheat or rice from the government.
The survey also found that about 35% families went without food for an entire day either on several occasions or at least for a few days, while 38% skipped a meal a day several times or sometimes, and 46% cur down on a few items from their regular food intake.
The survey also found that 56% of dairy and poultry farmers faced difficulty in taking their produce to the market, while 35% said that they did not receive a fair price. More than 50% of the farmers surveyed harvested their crop in time during the lockdown, but only a fourth could sell it on time.
Despite the difficulties, 74% of the respondents were satisfied with the Centre’s management of covid-19. More than 33% of those who had gone home did not grudge the government’s handling of the migrant crisis.
Overall, the survey revealed that the economic scenario was starkly different from the narrative that rural areas faced minimal disruption during the lockdown, and the economy was bouncing back following a robust winter harvest and financial support from a clutch of government schemes.
Manufacturers of food items and those selling motorcycles have pinned their hopes on the revival in rural demand to see sales growth during a recession that has resulted from the pandemic.