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Ahmedabad's 74% poor households 'not earning' income regularly: IIM-A study

IIM-A
By Our Representative
An Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) study on the impact of lockdown on the marginalized households has found that that around 74% households reported “not earning regular incomes anymore” and 60% reporting that their current food supply would last “for less than a week”.
Carried out by Prof Ankur Sarin with a group of researchers, the study said that many expressed “anxiety about the future stability of their incomes”, with many households stating that “they won’t be able to make next month’s rent, phone bills, electricity bills, next installment of school fees.”
The study is based on interviews with around 500 households in Naroda Road, Shahpur Darwaza, Bapunagar, Old Vadaj, New Vadaj, Ambavadi, Amraivadi, Anandwadi, Gita Mandir, Sabarmati, Odhav, Vatva, Vastrapur, Ramdevnagar, Satellite, Ramol, Sarkhej, Kalupur, Behrampura, Maninagar, Indrapuri, Bhaipura, Motera, Shahi Baug, Vejalpur and Jamalpur. The respondents were enrolled on a WhatsApp group after taking their consent.
Carried out during the first 21 days of the lockdown, the study said, “Many have taken credit from their employers or neighbours to meet basic food related expenses”, adding, “Due to the sudden fall in incomes, most households were unable to procure vegetables, milk, washing powder, sanitary pads among other essentials (other than food).”
Individuals reported that they “only have Rs 500-800 left for managing everything”, that they will “lose everything” in the due course, that “due to lack of food and essential items, the stores have increased prices and the family doesn't have enough money to purchase”, and that as they have “no job” they have “withdrawn” all their money from the bank to feed their family.
Due to sudden fall in incomes, most households were unable to procure vegetables, milk, washing powder, sanitary pads, other essentials
“We were also informed of households facing trouble getting medicines in as shops in their vicinities were shut”, the study noted, quoting individuals as stating, “...although food kits are being provided by the government and NGOs, they come in limited numbers and many families in the neighborhood go hungry.”
On being asked whether the government’s announcement of promising Rs 500, which was to be transferred in phases from April 3 to 9 to all women Jan-Dhan beneficiaries, “less than 6% households reported being aware of money transfers from the government to their accounts”, the study said, adding, “This could be the result of either transfers not being made or households not having means to reach banks or ATMs.”
Prof Ankur Sarin
As for access to Public Distribution System (PDS), the study said, while around 66% households said they collected materials ‘regularly’ from ration shops, but as for those whose regular incomes had stopped, “only 40% regularly accessed PDS.”
“Many households with Above Poverty Line (APL) cards were being denied ration at the stores (because it didn’t have the ‘sikka’ -- or National Food Secueity Act [NFSA] stamp); these included many daily wage earners”, the study said.
Stating that complaints ranged from ration shops in their vicinities shut, had low supply of grains, or were overcrowded, the study said, while most households being aware of helplines, “surprisingly, only 3% have called any of the helpline numbers.”
One of the beneficiaries was quoted as saying, “We are not receiving proper supplies from the ration shop. We have only received 10kg of wheat this month which is way less than what we should be receiving. We are also not receiving other supplies like rice, sugar, oil etc. which government is sending for our help. I tried asking the ration shop owner, but he shooed us.”
The study said, “Around 16% receiving any external help/resources from NGOs (mostly food related assistance provided)”, adding, as for households with children in government schools and anganwadis, “more than 80% had not received any food related assistance from the anganwadis or schools since the lockdown.”
The study suggested that 11% households have gone back to their hometowns/villages (primarily Rajasthan, within Gujarat, etc.). It added, “We were also informed of families being stuck in transit or staying within Ahmedabad outside their usual residence (e.g. at a relative’s place), and of working males being separated from their families.”

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