The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) on Thursday informed the Department Related Standing Committee for Home Affairs that 90% of urban poor men in Delhi have not been to work during the coronavirus lockdown. The ISI had conducted the phone survey of 1,500 low-income households across industrial areas of New Delhi.
Top officials who did not want to be identified said the ISI presentation concluded that 90% of the men have been unable to work and 85% of the respondents unable to earn any income from their primary occupation after the pandemic hit India.
According to the officials, the presentation said financial stress was the major source of concern leading to depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. While 56% of the households have received some sort of central assistance, 73% believe it was inadequate.
The ISI also said 63% small businessmen completely shut shop and 61% businesses did not retain any worker. Of those that did not close, 37% paid partial salaries and 39% nothing at all. 25% of the cultivators did not hire and 22% hired less than they needed.
The report concluded that in a sample size of 3,466 individuals, 64% renters could not pay full rent, 54% experienced major income losses, 44% borrowed to pay for their expenses, and 14% had to go hungry, said sources. The survey said 85% of the households experienced some decline in income with urban areas suffering more.
Sources said the ISI told the committee that Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur and Maharashtra are the worst performing states in terms of number of job cards for MGNREGA in the current financial year.
The report concluded that while 4% to 15% Scheduled Tribe members and 4% to 24% of individuals belonging to Scheduled Castes became unemployed, 6% to 12% upper castes had to do away with their jobs.
Sources said the report stated that 80% of poor households have received benefits either in the form of free ration from PDS or cash transfer. The average cash transfer was Rs 2,076 for households that received any benefits. Construction workers were the worst affected during the lockdown period, it added.