A study conducted by the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES, Monash University, Australia) and the Institute of Human Development in Delhi has showcased the impact that the first wave of COVID has had on the people and livelihoods in seven districts of rural Bihar. The study mentioned that 78 per cent of the ration cardholders mostly received less than the promised 5 kg free of rice or wheat per person per month. Along the same lines, 52 per cent were ineligible for free cooking gas cylinders under Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana. Adding to that, more than 30 per cent of women had no Jan Dhan accounts to receive cash transfers.
The seven districts that were surveyed include Gaya, Gopalganj, Madhubani, Nalanda, Araria, Purnia and Rohtas. The survey was conducted by Gaurav Dutt, Swati Dutta and Sunil Kumar Mishra. The Hindu quoted them as saying," The focus of the study was to know how the COVID-19 crisis impacted livelihoods and lives of rural households in Bihar and how far the government support translated into support on the ground." The study further explained that, on an average, casual workers had lost nine days of employment in a month since the onset of the pandemic, and 41 per cent of women have been unable to avail themselves of health services.
Only 51% Of Households Received Complete Ration
Only 51 per cent of the households received their complete ration under the Public Distribution Scheme. However, the impact of COVID was lasting, and it impacted 94 per cent of households in one or another way. The most affected lives were self-employed people in agriculture, self-employed in animal husbandry, casual and migrant labour.
About 28 per cent of households that had children under the age of 24 months missed their immunisation due to the deadly virus. About one-fifth of the families with people in salaried work lost jobs. The study concluded that the promised support was meagre compared to the virus's impact, and then, the assured were left hanging by a thread.