Average monthly income for workers fell by 17%
Households coped with the loss of income by reducing food intake, selling assets, and borrowing from friends, relatives and money-lenders
The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased informality in employment, leading to a decline in earnings for the majority of workers, and consequent increase in poverty in the country, according to ‘State of Working India 2021: One Year of Covid-19’, a report brought out annually by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, Bengaluru.
This year’s report, which covers the period March 2020 to December 2020, dwells on the impact of one year of COVID-19 on employment, incomes, inequality and poverty.
Regarding employment, the report notes that 100 million jobs were lost nationwide during the April-May 2020 lockdown. Though most of these workers had found employment by June 2020, about 15 million remained out of work. As for income, “for an average household of four members, the monthly per capita income in Oct 2020 (4,979) was still below its level in Jan 2020 (5,989),” the report noted.
Exodus into informal sector
The study found that post-lockdown, nearly half of salaried workers had moved into informal work, either as self-employed (30%), casual wage (10%) or informal salaried (9%). The fallback option varied by caste and religion. “General category workers and Hindus were more likely to move into self-employment while marginalised caste workers and Muslims moved into daily wage work,” noted the report.
Education, health and professional services saw the highest exodus of workers into other sectors, with agriculture, construction and petty trade emerging as the top fallback options. For Hindus, agriculture was the major fallback sector, absorbing 10-20% of workers from other sectors, while for Muslims, it was trade, absorbing 20-35% of workers from other sectors.
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The Hindu, 5 May, 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-average-monthly-income-for-workers-fell-by-17/article34491703.ece?homepage=true