More Than 16 Crore People Forced Into Poverty In 2 Years Of Pandemic: Oxfam Report

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More Than 16 Crore People Forced Into Poverty In 2 Years Of Pandemic: Oxfam Report

Pandemic was responsible for job loss leading to some workers never going back to any sort of employment, thus pushing more people into poor living conditions.

Over 16 crore people were pushed into poverty due to the pandemic, further contributing to the death of at least 21000 people each day. The report by Oxfam India stated that the findings were based on deaths globally that could be attributed to lack of reach to healthcare facilities, gender-based violence, hunger and climate breakdown.

Another report by Azim Premji university states that 23 core Indians were pushed into poverty due to the pandemic and disruption of the economy affecting livelihoods.

Loss Of Jobs

The report further stated that the poorest 20 per cent of households lost their entire incomes. 1.5 crore workers remained out of jobs by the end of 2020. Moreover, over 20 crore people lost their jobs during the nationwide lockdown in April-May 2020.

Covid cases in Indian states dictated the loss of job opportunities owing to state restrictions and guidelines. Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi made up a significant chunk of job losses.

The report further mentioned that during the lockdown and later, 61 per cent of working men remained employed while 7 per cent lost employment and did not return to work. In the case of women, however, only 19 per cent retained employment while 47 per cent suffered a permanent job loss, reported by Business Standard.

Moreover, the world's response to the pandemic has unleashed economic violence, particularly across radicalized, marginalized and gendered lines, said Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam International's Executive Director. "As Covid-19 spikes, this turns to surges of gender-based violence, even as yet more unpaid care is heaped upon women and girls," she added, as reported by NDTV.

Government Support & Issues

The government announced relief measures for employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. 'Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana' aimed to give unemployment insurance to workers already availing the Employees' State Insurance (ESI) scheme, a self-financing health insurance scheme for formal sector workers in India.

For the job loss during the pandemic, the scheme provides compensation equal to 25 per cent of the average salary in the form of cash to workers who became unemployed for up to three months of unemployment. The employees could avail it for once in their lifetime.

Such schemes have a narrow reach due to different factors. The scheme mentioned can only be availed by employees who have subscribed to the ESI scheme. K R Shyam Sundar, professor of human resource management in a Jamshedpur college, said that the ESIC covers about two-thirds of the private organized sector.

"This scheme is narrow in coverage. It does not reflect the sensitivity of the magnitude of the impact that the coronavirus will have on the jobs market. It's reflective of poor image of the government, which should work towards a universal unemployment scheme instead," Sundar told the Business Standard.

The support could fail to reach the most vulnerable workers and households due to various factors under the implementation of specific schemes. The pandemic has been harder on limited income people, thus pushing many into poverty due to loss of jobs, affected health conditions and other inter-related factors.

Also Read: More Than 10% Indians Own Over 50% Of Assets, NSS Report Highlight Inequality

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Writer : Dimpal Gulwani
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