IIMA survey reveals 74% household losing income amid lockdown; anxiety looms over future

Last Updated 27 April 2020, 17:38 IST

A rapid survey of 500 low-income group households by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has found that 74 per cent of them not only have lost their regular income during the lockdown but also willl not be able "to make next month’s rent, phone bills, electricity bills, next installment of school fees". Many of them are surviving on credit taken from employers or neighbours to meet basic food related related expenses.

"Rapid COVID-19 survey" was conducted from March 29 to April 9, during the first lockdown aimed to curb spread of coronavirus infection, on 500 families of bus drivers, rickshaw pullers, vegetable vendors and other daily wagers living in various parts of the city, which now fall under severely hit coronavirus hotspots.

The survey reveals that "Around 74% households reported not earning regular incomes anymore (most have lost or will lose their entire income). Among the others, many expressed anxiety about the future stability of their incomes."

The survey reveals that over 40% households reported that they or their neighbours were facing urgent problems related to food and medicine. It says that “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).

Some households in distress even responded, “I have only have Rs. 500-800 left for managing everything”, “I will lose everything”, “Due to lack of food and essential items, the stores have increased prices and the family doesn't have enough money to purchase,” “I have no job and have withdrawn all my money from the bank to feed my family of 6 people.”

According to the survey, only 56% of the households could collect ration post lockdown, while in some cases, they were informed that the ration shops were shut in some areas or they ran out of grains. More than 80% had not received any food related assistance from Anganwadi or schools.
Interestingly, the survey found that despite most of the households being aware of helplines, only 3% have called out of which 20% sought information regarding symptoms, precautions and helplines from surveyors.
It has found 11% households left for their native mostly Rajasthan and within Gujarat. The survey on ground by community workers, 4500 workers were found taking shelter small, informal workshops that also serve as their work spaces. "Abandoned without income, they had also lost access to food as they relied on street vendors for cooked food," the survey states.

The survey was conducted by a group of volunteers, including students and staff, at IIMA. These households are associated with various community initiatives of the institute including SMILE and student initiatives like Prayaas and RTERC which work for imparting education to children. In a release issued by the institute it is stated that finding has been prepared by professor Ankur Sarin along with team of researchers at IIMA and the finding "does not necessarily reflect the views of the institute."
(Published 27 April 2020, 17:37 IST)

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