HomeeducationThe unemployment rate in rural India almost doubled immediately

The unemployment rate in rural India almost doubled immediately

The unemployment rate in rural India almost doubled immediately after the coronavirus lockdown was announced  from 6.8% in the pre-pandemic January-March 2020 quarter to 12.1% in April-June 2020, the first quarter after the nationwide lockdown was announced. that March according to Oxfam India’s “The India Discrimination Report,” released Thursday. In urban areas, the unemployment rate rose from 9% to 20.8% over the same period, the report said. The government’s Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS) defines unemployment as people looking for or available for work.

According to this definition, the part of regular/salaried workers and self-employed persons who did not report any work during the reference week was considered employed. Many of them had no job and no income, but because they were not looking for or available for work, they were considered employed, the report said.

However, when we broaden the definition to include those who reported no work during the reference week as unemployed, along with those looking for/available for work, the increase in the unemployment rate becomes alarming,” the report said. “In rural areas, the overall unemployment rate in such a scenario will rise from 10.5 percent to 22.2 percent. The increase in urban areas is alarming, rising from 15 percent to 50.3 percent.

The study also found that the increase in unemployment rate was higher among people from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Muslim community than those from the General category, according to both indices. In terms of the distribution of workers across different forms of employment, the greatest impact during the pandemic was on casual employment, which, according to the study, was relatively severe in urban areas due to the closure of non-agricultural activities. Correspondingly, self-employment has increased, suggesting that people have adopted this work as part of their survival strategy.

In contrast, according to the report, the share of regular employment remained stable or showed a slight decrease. Compared to the significant increase in self-employment among SC/ST and General category people, the increase among Muslims was very small. The report noted that this could be due to a “lower acceptability of dealing directly with consumers at the household level”, which pushed them out of casual employment into unpaid family work or into the unemployed category.

While the overall unemployment rate for Muslims rose from around 9% in the pre-pandemic quarter to 17% in the first quarter after the restrictions were announced, it rose from 7% to % for those in the General category over the same period. Taking a broader definition of unemployment, the report said the sharpest rise in the unemployment rate over the two quarters was for Muslims in rural areas – from 14% to 31%. According to the study, the respective increase in rate for SC/ST and general category population was 11% to 22% and from 10% to 20%.

In rural areas, caste and religious identities gain importance, especially in times of crisis,” the report said. “People are likely to act more within their social circles. Given the social and economic vulnerability of the SC/ST and Muslim population, the protection they can provide or ask for from their group would be relatively poor. One might therefore expect that the impact of discrimination is much greater in rural than in urban labor markets.

It said: “While the overall impact of the pandemic has been severe in urban areas due to a series of national and state blockades that have directly affected urban business, social discrimination has been less as people’s professional identity tends to obscure their caste or religion.” identity, as opposed to rural areas.’

According to the Oxfam study, the number of casual/salaried workers who did not report work for two consecutive quarters rose from 5.9% to 29.7%. The increase in urban areas was alarming – from 6.9% to 39.4%. For Muslims, this increase was from 11.8% in January-March 2020 to 40.9% in April-June of the same year. Oxfam’s analysis also found that during the April-June 2020 quarter, there was an increase in the number of women in regular employment, even as male employment fell.

The report explains:

“In urban areas, a large proportion of regular women workers are employed as domestic helpers and in unskilled jobs. Many of them provided daily support services at a relatively low cost, which the upper and middle classes saw fit to maintain with either full or partial payment.”

Average earnings of workers across all social groups and job categories fell significantly in the April-June 2020 quarter, the study found. In rural areas, monthly earnings during the first post-Covid-19 quarter were 9% below the 2019-20 average. However, the deficit was significantly higher, namely 21% in urban areas. In rural areas, people from the Muslim community saw the maximum decline – 13% – and the rest were close to the average.

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