3% benefitted from Karnataka govt’s cash scheme: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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3% benefitted from Karnataka govt’s cash scheme: Report

By, Bengaluru
Mar 29, 2022 11:52 PM IST

Around 97% of households in Bengaluru were forced to sell or pawn assets like jewellery during the period, while 40% reported lower food intake during the same period, the report added.

Only 3% of households in Bengaluru reported having received money under the Karnataka government cash transfer schemes that were announced to alleviate the suffering of the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, according to a new survey by Azim Premji University (AZU) released on Tuesday.

The survey was done to estimate the continuing impact of Covid-19 induced lockdowns and economic disruptions of employment and livelihoods (Agencies file)
The survey was done to estimate the continuing impact of Covid-19 induced lockdowns and economic disruptions of employment and livelihoods (Agencies file)

AZU, in collaboration with nine Civil Society Organisations (CSO), conducted a survey of 3,000 households in 92 low-income settlements across 33 wards of Bengaluru. The survey was done to estimate the continuing impact of Covid-19 induced lockdowns and economic disruptions of employment and livelihoods.

“Only 3% of households reported receiving anything under the cash transfer schemes announced by the state government,” according to the survey titled “COVID-19 and Bengaluru’s Urban Poor”.

According to official government data, around 40,052 people have died and 3,945,401 people have tested positive in all three waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two chief ministers of Karnataka during the period (2020-2021) – BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai – had announced hundreds and thousands of crores as “relief” in the form of a one-time settlement to people in various professions, ranging from 2000- 10, 000.

Around 97% of households in Bengaluru were forced to sell or pawn assets like jewellery during the period, while 40% reported lower food intake during the same period, the report added.

Another 11% of the households were forced to borrow for daily expenses or to repay old loans, while 12% of homes could not borrow despite wanting to, which was higher among Muslims and marginalised communities, the report added.

Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at AZU and lead researcher of the survey, pointed out: “The ill-effects of the pandemic on livelihoods have persisted well beyond the lockdowns, particularly for vulnerable sections of society. There is a need for a focused and long-term policy response at the Centre and State level to help households emerge from the crisis.”

The survey findings pointed to the hardships faced by the population at large due to the pandemic, with little financial support from the government. Karnataka, like its counterparts, continues to face the effects of the lockdown on its economy.

However, industries like Information Technology, among a few others were, seen to be insulated from the pandemic but the same cannot be said of other professions, especially those in which daily wage is the main source of income.

“The pandemic has shown how invisible the poor in the cities are and how weak the public systems are in reaching the neediest and the most vulnerable.

“There is an urgent need to use the understanding developed from this survey and revamp the city governance systems to address the inequities more systemically,” Hyma Vadlamani, a core member of the Covid response team at Azim Premji Foundation said.

Workers from a wide range of occupations such as drivers (cab, auto, and others), daily-wage earners (construction and others), domestic workers and factory workers (garment and others) were surveyed. The survey was conducted in November 2021 with the help of Action Aid, Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), The Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), Hasiru Dala, Gubbachi, Reaching Hand, Sangama, Swabhimaan Trust and Thamate.

The survey also indicated that job and income losses persisted well past the 2020 lockdown. “Forty-one per cent of workers had no work, and another 21 per cent had reduced earnings even in Jan/Feb 2021. Daily wage earners, domestic workers and retail sector employees were the worst affected”.

“Unemployment was long-term. A significant minority (10 per cent men, 15 per cent women) were out of work even as late as October 2021 (one-and-a-half years into the pandemic). Earnings losses were also long-term. Monthly earnings, which were low even before the pandemic (INR 9,400 per month), fell even lower for many months (INR 8,450 per month as of Jan/Feb 2021). By October 2021, earnings had recovered in nominal terms but adjusted for inflation, they continued to be below pre-COVID levels. This means that surveyed households have endured almost 19 months of job losses and depressed earnings,” according to the report.

Further, it added that poverty increased as a result.

“The percentage of households with earnings less than the Anoop Satpathy Committee recommended National Minimum Wage (INR 119 per person per day) rose to almost 80 per cent before falling back to pre-COVID levels (67 per cent) by October 2021,” the report added.

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