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Majority in rural India have no savings to buffer against COVID-19 impact, finds survey


Well-known member
Close to 70% respondents (i.e. 438 pf 633 people) in rural India reported that they do not have any kind of savings to make up for the employment or livelihood loss that they will suffer because of the Covid-19 outbreak in India. A sizable percentage of respondents also reported that they have been asked by their respective employers to either return to their hometown or not to report to work due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

These were some of the findings of a survey in rural India before Prime Minister Narendra Modi put India on a 21-day lockdown on 23 March 2020. The national lockdown is seen as a critical measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has so far affected 753 people and killed 18 in India (as of Friday, 27 March).

Days before the lockdown was announced and daily wage labourers and migrant workers started abandoning cities for their villages/hometowns, Mobile Vaani and 101Reporters conducted a survey to gauge the awareness and impact of coronavirus/Covid-19. A total of 769 people took the survey (but not all answered all the survey questions) over four days from 20-23 March 2020. Majority of the respondents (nearly 47%) were from Bihar while the others were from Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi-NCR. An overwhelming majority, 87.8% were males, with 55.5% working locally as farm and agriculture labourers and 15% as daily wage or migrant workers.

“The disease has caused much pain, and we are worried about our livelihood. We deserve financial support from the government,” said Prakash Mistry, a 45-year-old daily wage labourer. “We are not getting any support from the local representative.”

The survey found that more than half the respondents were aware about the recent outbreak and knew about how to avoid contracting it, largely due to messaging on mass-media and social media. Ironically though, 53.4% respondents (n=693*) said they had no information on a nearby primary healthcare centre (PHC) or any government facility where testing for Covid-19 could be done, the survey found.


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