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State of Working India 2021 One year of Covid 19 report by Azim Premji University

State of Working India 2021 One year of Covid 19 report by Azim Premji University


  • GS 3 || Disaster Management || Major Disasters || Others

Why in news?

A study titled ‘State of Working India 2021: One Year of Covid­19’ brought out annually by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment, Bengaluru has been published. The study covers the period March 2020 to December 2020, dwells on the effect of one year of Covid­-19 on jobs, incomes, inequality and poverty

Impact of Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially increased informality in employment. This has lead to a decline in earnings for the majority of workers and an increase in poverty in the country.

Key finding of the report:

  • Employment and incomes:
    • About 100 million lost jobs during the nationwide April-May 2020 lockdown
    • Most were back at work by June 2020, but even by the end of 2020, about 15 million workers remained out of work.
    • For an average household of four members, the monthly per capita income in Oct 2020 (4,979) was still below its level in Jan 2020 (5,989).
    • During the pandemic, workers’ monthly earnings dropped by an average of 17%, with self-employed and informal salaried workers losing the most money.
  • Informal Sector: Post Lockdown, nearly half of salaried workers moved into informal work. They became either self-employed (30%), casual wage (10%) or informal salaried(9%).
  • Economic Impact:
    • During the months of April and May 2020, the bottom 20% of households received nothing.
    • On the other hand, the top 10% suffered the least during the lockdown, and only lost about 20% of their February income during the lockdown months
  • Most Impacted States:
    • Job losses were higher for states with a higher Covid-19 caseload.
    • Hence, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, contributed to a large extent to job losses
  • Women are disproportionately affected:
    • During and after the lockdown, 61% of working men remained employed, while 7% lost their jobs and did not return to work.
    • Just 19 percent of women remained working, while 47 percent lost their jobs permanently.
  • Poverty and inequality has increased:
    • In April and May the poorest 20% of households lost their entire incomes.
    • In contrast the richer households suffered losses of less than a quarter of their pre-pandemic incomes. Over the entire eight month period (Mar to Oct), an average household in the bottom 10% lost I 15,700, or just over two months’ income

Government relief measures:

As India faces the second wave of the crisis, which could be the country’s worst humanitarian in recent years, urgent policy steps are required to help an already vulnerable population.

  • Free rations, cash transfers, MGNREGA, PM-KISAN payments, and pension payments were some of the major support measures announced in 2020 as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and the Atmanirbhar Bharat packages, to combat +the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable households.
  • The extra Public Distribution System (PDS) entitlements under Pradhan MantriGaribKalyanYojana (PMGKY) need to be extended till the end of the year
  • Direct cash transfer:Cash transfers of Rs. 5,000 to as many needy households as possible using existing digital networks, including but not limited to Jan Dhan accounts, for a period of three months.
  • MGNREGA (Mahatma National Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act) has been extremely beneficial, and it’s funding needs to be increased.
  • Pilot projects for job:A pilot urban jobs initiative, likely focusing on women residents, could be implemented in the hardest-hit districts.
  • Anganwadi and ASHA staff: For 2.5 million Anganwadi and ASHA staff who have been on the frontlines of the grassroots battle against the virus, a Covid-19 poverty allowance of Rs. 30,000 (Rs. 5,000 every month for six months) should be declared.

About State of Working India 2021 Report:

  • Purpose of the report: The aim of the study was to show how Covid-19 affected wages, salaries, inequality, and poverty over the course of a year. The efficacy of the government’s policy interventions on relief and support programs is also examined in the study.
  • Report is based on: The report is based on data sourced from-
    • Azim Premji University Covid-19 Livelihoods Phone Survey (CLIPS),
    • Consumer Pyramids Household Survey of the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy(CMIE)
    • The India Working Survey(IWS) and
    • Other surveys by various civil society organization

Recommendations made in report:

  • Public Distribution System:Free rations under the public distribution scheme will be extended until the end of 2021. The government has set a deadline of June 2021.
  • Cash transfer:Three-monthly cash transfers of Rs 5,000 to needy households.
  • MGNREGA: The government should provide Work Entitlement under the rural job guarantee scheme MGNREGA. Further, the government should expand work from present100 days to 150 days per household per year.
  • More pilot projects:A Pilot urban employment programme in the worst-hit districts


Covid-19 pandemic has brought out worst humanitarian crisis, it is very high time for people and government to take all the possible action and initiative to stop the virus, India is seeing is worst phase of spread of virus, with spread of virus various loopholes in the system can clearly is seen. Oxygen deficiency, not enough ventilators and no beds for needy has made system to this over that are they ready enough for any kind of epidemic or pandemic. Government should take all possible and immediate steps to protect the life of citizen in this tough time.

Mains oriented question:

What are the impact of Covid-19 pandemic in different aspects of society, it has not only has impacted the society but has change entire human ecosystem. Illustrate the statement. (200 words)