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Kesar, Surbhi, Abraham, Rosa, Lahoti, Rahul, Basole, Amit and Nath, Paaritosh (2021) 'Pandemic, informality, and vulnerability: impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods in India.' Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 42 (1/2). pp. 145-164.

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We analyze findings from a large-scale survey of around 5000 respondents across 12 states of India, conducted during the months of April and May 2020, to study the impact of COVID-19 pandemic containment measures (lockdown) on employment, livelihoods, and food security. Given the predominantly informal nature of employment and critically low investment in State-funded social security nets, the impact, albeit unprecedented in its scale, was not entirely unexpected in its nature. We find that around two-thirds of respondents reported losing employment during the lockdown, and those that continued to be employed witness a sharp decline in earning. Further, with critically low levels of social security net, the loss in employment quickly translated into food and livelihoods insecurity. Almost 80 per cent of households experienced a reduction in food intake, more than 60 per cent did not have enough money for a week’s worth of essentials, and a third took a loan to cover expenses during the lockdown. We also use a set of logistic regressions to identify how employment loss and reduction in food intake varied with individual and household-level characteristics. Based on our analysis, we argue that while there is an urgent need to undertake effective measures to support livelihoods and facilitate an economic recovery, we also highlight the necessity to critically evaluate the current development trajectory, whereby decades-long high economic growth has failed to translate into more secure livelihoods for a vast majority of the workforce.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: COVID-19, informality, employment, food security, India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 02255189
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2022 13:12
Related URLs: https://cse.azi ... hoods-in-india/
Funders: Other, Other

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