Sharp rise in Delhi’s jobless during lockdown, women worst hit: Survey
The unemployment rate in Delhi rose by 17.4 percentage points during the Covid-19 pandemic-induced nationwide lockdown—from 11.1% recorded in January-February 2020 to 28.5% recorded in October-November 2020—according to a Delhi government survey, which HT has seen.
And even for those employed, the report said, the average income dropped from ₹16,511 to ₹15,383 between the two periods.
The survey showed that the increase in the unemployment rate was sharper among women than men. While the unemployment rate among men rose from 8.7% to 23.3% during the survey period, the rate among women rose from 25.6% to 54.7%, stated the report, which is yet to be shared in the public domain.
Citing excerpts from this report, Delhi’s finance minister Manish Sisodia said in his budget speech, which HT reported, on February 9: “The Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown have had a disastrous impact on the livelihoods of people. People have lost their jobs, their businesses. In this time of crisis, our government understands it to be its duty to formulate schemes of social security and welfare of the people. For this, we had started a survey which showed that before the corona crisis, in February 2020, 26% of women were unemployed. In February 2021, this statistic was still 40%.”
“This reveals that among the women of Delhi, who are available for employment, 40% cannot find any work. 45% of these women have completed Class 12 and 60% of these women are less than 30 years of age. It is essential to economically empower these women and integrate them with the economy of the family and the state,” he said.
The report also said that in the two given periods the unemployment rate rose from 9.2% to 29.7% among people who are illiterate, from 7.6% to 27.6% among those who graduated primary school, 9.2% to 25.8% among those who cleared Class 10 board exams, 23.1% to 36.1% among those who have a school senior secondary degree (Class 12), from 12.7% to 29.1% among college graduates, and from 11.5% to 24.4% among university post-graduates and above.
The survey also noted that 89% of the unemployed respondents continued looking for work in October-November 2020. Of the 89%, around 56% had been unemployed for over six months, compelling the government to work on drafting a “job guarantee scheme” to revive the economy of Delhi, it said.
The sample size of the survey was 44,226 individuals across all 11 revenue districts in Delhi.
“The present employment survey in Delhi to understand the unemployment and under-employment scenario in Delhi is going to be a very important tool to assist policy-making that responds to the ground-level economic situation in Delhi. Through this survey, the government of NCT of Delhi intended to get the full picture of unemployment in various sectors/occupations which are the most prevalent in the economy, the extent of under-employment as well as citizen feedback on some potential policy responses that the government of NCT of Delhi may want to initiate. Special focus is given to the consequences of job loss in various economic activities/ industries after the outbreak of Covid-19 and consequent lockdown,” the report said.
Debolina Kundu, professor at National Institute of Urban Affairs, said: “The findings of the Delhi Employment Survey 2020 can be an important tool for the government to deal with the current economic recession induced by the pandemic and associated lockdown. It brought into light the precarious condition of youth, especially women, even in pre-pandemic times. This section has also been very severely impacted by the recession resulting in increase of unemployment and underemployment. The government has to strengthen its job generation initiatives taking into account a wide range of stakeholders. The government has told the Delhi assembly that it is already working in this direction.”