Skip to main content

CityMakers 'locked out': India's 80% casual, 60% salaried workers out of job: Survey

By Our Representative
Findings of a telephonic-survey by interviewing 3,121 households across 50 plus cities of the country from May 7 to May 17, 2020 by scholars of the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), Delhi, have suggested that eight out of 10 casual daily wage labourers and six out of 10 salaried workers reported unemployed or loss employment during lockdown due to closure of business/construction activities and inability to visit their workplaces.
Results of the survey were discussed at a webinar on May 27, 2020, in which over 500 people, including scholars from reputed international institutions, participated.
The study found that six out of 10 respondents said they were unaware that congestion was a major constraint in ensuring social distancing and hygiene practices during the lockdown and pandemic period. More than 50% of the respondents were worried about earning a livelihood and losing work and were anxious about how they would feed their families and themselves.
The study revealed that six out of 10 respondents demanded free ration after the lockdown ends, while eight out 10 respondents suggested that they would resume work after the lockdown ends, stating the current livelihood loss was a temporary phenomenon. But they agreed, much would depend to a large extent how the government, business and people responded.
Most respondents stated that the coverage of different government schemes was far from being universal and that lack of awareness and eligibility were two major impediments. Many respondents reported that they were not eligible for the programmes introduced by the government.
The study suggested key policy takeaways such need for local periodic data for pandemic preparedness and response; a new urban agenda focusing on dynamic urban planning processes and empowering the city governments; an urban job assurance programme as a longer-term policy option to address the looming economic crisis; and to plug gaps and expand public assistance programmes focusing on the rights of the CityMakers.
Speaking on the occasion, Wendy Olsen (University of Manchester, UK) said, we need an extremely localised solution for catering to the needs of the CityMakers who comprise over 140 million citizens. According to her, the need for free ration, advance wages and assured food supply for each were essential to alleviate the sufferings of the people. Insisting “a true political will”, she stressed on health insurance, basic amenities and coordination between local governments, adding, urban local bodies should be strengthened with requisite funds and local capacity.
Sandeep Chachra (Action Aid) said that while providing immediate solutions the long outstanding call of informal workers, decent wages and workers’ rights should not be diluted, especially because these rights were gained following years of labour struggles. He asserted, labour laws cannot go to abeyance, neither should one undermined social security and protection.
Prof Ruth Steiner (University of Florida, USA) said, “A large section of Indian population is usually ignored from the policy challenges when a nation is shutdown. How do we take note of the way they meet their basic amenities. We need to understand the importance of public transport to access goods and services, draw lessons for the future”. 
Eight out 10 respondents said they would resume work after the lockdown ends, that the current livelihood loss was temporary
IMPRI senior faculty Dr Arjun Kumar said, “Government programmes like the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana are being harnessed to provide intermittent relief to the poor. However, per person allocation of monetary support is very low, and for schemes like 'Thalinomics’ (for ensuring a balanced diet) to succeed, assured assistance of around Rs 2,000 is needed. It is expected from the government to act as the guardian and ensure that welfare schemes become accessible for all.”
IMPRI scholars Dr Balwant Singh Mehta and Dr Simi Mehta, the study coordinators, said, “The study findings show that urban informal worker was mainly engaged in low paid casual daily wage work and self-employment activities such as street vendors, and only a few involved in salaried jobs. Therefore, the lockdown has a huge impact on their livelihood as six out of 10 workers have lost their livelihood.”
However, they noted, “The most interesting part is over three-fourths of them reported that they will resume the work once the lockdown will be lifted. The study clearly demonstrates that prolonged lockdown has badly disrupted the livelihood of urban informal workers. Therefore, in case of any such adversity in future, adequate measures need to be kept handy.”
The two scholars added, “Relief measures must be provided on a war footing keeping in mind the prevailing realities and understanding how stressful the situation becomes for all, especially the lives and livelihood of the CityMakers.”
Assistant coordinators and senior researchers Anshula Mehta and Ritika Gupta (IMPRI) remarked that the study reflects “unprecedented sufferings, anxieties and perceptions of the CityMakers during Covid-19 and lockdown in a candid manner. It reveals ground-level stories and realities not captured in any other survey. The study presents ample scope for taking corrective measures through evidence-based governance in both short and the long term.”
Other major participants in the webinar included well-known scholars like Prof Chris Silver and Dr Abhinav Alakshendram (University of Florida, USA), and IMPRI faculty Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhay and Visva Bharati.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i