Lockdown impact: Survey in North India on employment springs up worrying figures

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Lockdown impact Survey in North India on employment

The Focus group on Business and Economic Policy Research (FGBEPR), University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, Chandigarh has done an online survey for mapping the impacts of lockdown on employment in North Indian states mainly Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh & Chandigarh.

A team of three experts – Dr. Kulwinder Singh, Professor Gunmala Suri from University Business School, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Dr. Nirvair Singh from Punjabi University, Patiala conducted this study. Based on the analysis of data from 510 responses received through an online survey executed during April- May 2020, the findings of the study have revealed a devastating impact of lockdown 1.0 on employment scenario in surveyed states.

Results of the study depict that due to lockdown 1, 22 percent of workers lost their jobs and 31 percent have had to face partial unemployment – which means they have either had to leave other side businesses or experienced a decline in their income from a single job. In the overall analysis, the employment of 54 percent of workers has been hit hard by the nationwide lockdown in the selected states.

The informal sector has taken the brunt of the impact. A staggering 80 percent of workers in the informal sector faced unemployment of any kind. 51 percent of workers in the informal sector lost their jobs and 30 percent experienced partial unemployment. The formal sector recorded 10 percent full unemployment and 30 percent partial unemployment. Thus the informal sector is the greatest sufferer from employment losses

The survey has also analyzed the lockdown’s impact in both urban & rural areas of the North Indian regions. The major findings here are that lockdown 1 has resulted in unemployment of 30 percent of rural workers as compared to 19 percent urban ones. However partial unemployment is highest (32 percent) in urban areas.

According to Prof. Kulwinder Singh, Coordinator, FGBEPR, University Business School, PU, Chandigarh, “Our study has revealed that the informal sector is the greatest sufferer from employment losses. Another worrying finding is that farmers faced the highest level of partial unemployment (38 percent) followed by self-employed and salaried workers. What’s shocking is that casual workers (62 percent) and self businessmen (48 percent) faced maximum unemployment and were hit hardest by the corona crisis.”

The survey points out that both full (33 percent) and partial (31 percent) unemployment are highest among workers in the private sector. The government sector produced unemployment of only 5 percent of workers. Younger workers lost more jobs as compared to older workers. Both full, as well as partial unemployment, are highest among male workers than female ones. What’s more, both full and partial unemployment are highest among married workers.

Sums up Dr. Kulwinder Singh, “Results of this study can be used for making an effective inference in case of North Indian states of India as 96 percent responses were received from the North Indian States. The results of the study make a strong case for huge government support to the stakeholders who lost their jobs due to the impact of lockdown. Emphasis on MNREGA and direct employment allowances, subsidized food is also recommended.”

The experts’ study lays emphasis on employment generation schemes which will not only provide support to affected workers but also produce huge demand for goods and services which is required for building the confidence of industrialists and investors for initiating productive activities in the economy.

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