Money transfer, rural employment program expansion faces impact of second wave of Covid: Azim Premji University

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He also suggested a Covid hardship allowance of 5,000 rupees per month to 2.5 million Anganwadi and ASHA workers for a period of six months.

Azim Premji University proposed a series of measures, including direct cash transfers and the extension of the right to the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to 150 days per household – requiring the Center to spend additional money. around 5.5 lakh crore – to mitigate the potentially larger impact of the Second Wave of Covid on work, income, food security, health and education.

The central government has “compelling reasons” to incur additional expenditure to support the expansion of free rations beyond June until the end of the year, to offer a cash transfer of 5,000 crore from Rupees for three months to as many households as possible and extend the right to MGNREGA to 150 days from 100 days now, and increase the budget under the rural employment guarantee scheme to at least Rs 1, 75 lakh crore of Rs 73,000 crore allocated in the budget for 2021-2022.

In a report that documents the impact of Covid-19 in India over the past year on employment, income, inequality and poverty, the university also suggested launching a pilot employment program. urban in the most affected neighborhoods, focused on affected women workers. hard in the pandemic. He also suggested a Covid hardship allowance of 5,000 rupees per month to 2.5 million Anganwadi and ASHA workers for a period of six months.

The report shows that the pandemic has further increased informality and led to a severe drop in the incomes of the majority of workers, leading to a sudden increase in poverty. In April and May, the poorest 20% of households lost all of their income. In contrast, the wealthiest households suffered losses of less than a quarter of their pre-pandemic income. Over the entire eight-month period (March to October), an average household in the bottom 10% lost 15,700 rupees, or just over two months of income.

“Of the decline in overall income, 90% was due to reduced income, while 10% was due to job loss. This means that although most of the workers were able to return to work, they had to settle for lower incomes, ”he said.

Mobility restrictions, caused by blockages, resulted in loss of income due to the decrease in economic activity. The report found that a 10% drop in mobility was associated with a 7.5% drop in income.

Many households have coped by reducing their food intake, borrowing and selling assets, as government relief has averted the most severe forms of distress, but the scope of support measures is incomplete, leaving out some of the most vulnerable workers and households, according to the report.

The report states that around 100 million jobs were lost during the nationwide lockdown from April to May 2020. Although most of them returned to work in June 2020, but by the end of 2020, around 15 million workers were still out of work. Job losses were higher for states with a higher average Covid case load. Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have disproportionately contributed to the job losses.

After confinement, workers returned to more precarious and informal forms of employment. Between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, almost half of formal employees switched to informal work, either as self-employed (30%), or as casual employees (10%), or as informal employees (9 %), according to the press release.


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