'Greatest Test For International Cooperation In 75 Years': UN Says COVID-19 Pandemic May Push 40 Crore Indians Into Poverty

The report said the pandemic may take away as many as 19.5 crore full time jobs which is equivalent to 6.7% of working hours across the world in the second half of the year.

India   |   9 April 2020 11:44 AM GMT
Editor : Prateek Gautam

Image Credit: The Times Of India, Static

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is likely to drag 40 crore Indians who are employed in the informal sector into poverty, a report released by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Tuesday.

The report said the pandemic may take away as many as 19.5 crore full time jobs which is equivalent to 6.7% of working hours across the world in the second half of the year.

The report, titled "ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work" referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as the worst global crisis since World War II.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said that workers, businesses and economic activities across developed and developing economies are experiencing a catastrophe. "We have to move fast, decisively, and together. The right, urgent, measures could make the difference between survival and collapse," he suggested.

Nearly 90% of India's laborers and workers in the informal sector have been compelled to return to their homes in rural areas due to shutting down of shops and businesses, the ILO said, referring to the lockdown in India as stringent.

Lakhs of migrant workers in March began an arduous journey home from large cities to their villages. The Centre, however, sealed the state and district borders restricting any movement on roads or highways, fearing a spread of the pandemic.

The report also mentioned that workers in the low and middle-income countries work in informal sectors have inadequate access to health services and lack social protection.

The International Labour Organization cautioned the governments to implement effective policies to prevent the workers fall into greater poverty and help them regain their livelihoods after the lockdown is revoked. The UN in its report state that the governments must encourage private enterprises to create new jobs as well.

"The ILO estimates that 1.25 billion workers, representing almost 38% of the workforce, are employed in sectors that are now facing a severe decline in output and a high risk of workforce displacement," the report added.

"Key sectors include retail trade, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing," it said.

"This is the greatest test for international cooperation in more than 75 years," Ryder said. "If one country fails, then we all fail. We must find solutions that help all segments of our global society, particularly those that are most vulnerable or least able to help themselves."

Also Read: Unemployment Rate In India Rises To 23.4%, Highest Since Sept 2016: CMIE Data

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