Covid induced poverty
STORIES, ANALYSES, EXPERT VIEWS
A Study by the Pew Research Centre estimates that the coronavirus has pushed 7.5 crore people into poverty - those who earn $2 or less a day. In absolute terms, the number of poor may have increased to 13.4 crore, reversing the gains made in the preceding nine years when the country cut the number of poor by more than three-fourths to an estimated 7.8 crore in 2019.
The numbers of India’s middle class — those with a daily income of $10.01–$20 — are projected to have shrunk by 3.2 crore to about 6.6 crore.
Thee report, writes The Hindu “once again spotlights the widening inequality in India, exacerbated by the pandemic, as the lower income populations have disproportionately borne the brunt of job and income losses in the wake of the multiple lockdowns. The fiscal policy response to redress this massive increase in precarity has also been underwhelming, especially when viewed from the perspective of the pre-pandemic tax cuts that the government handed to corporates in an attempt to revive private investment and rekindle growth. That the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme has been seeing record levels of demand is testimony to the struggles those in the rural hinterland have been facing in finding gainful employment since the onset of the pandemic……..”
Of concern to a recovery economy, are the rising number of COVID-19 cases once again.
Formal job creation numbers back to pre-pandemic levels
As per the latest Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) data, employment is back to the pre-pandemic level. In January 2021, 13.35 lakh new jobs across age groups were registered with EPFO, which is the highest net job creation number since Sep 2017, when Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) started releasing the monthly data.
Age-wise analysis, in the view of Mudit Kapoor (Associate Professor of Economics at the Indian Statistical Institute - ISI, New Delhi), indicates that during January 2021, the age-bracket of 22-25 has registered substantial growth in subscriber base with around 3.48 lakh net enrolments. This age-group can be considered as freshers in the job market. This is followed by age-bracket of 29-35 with around 2.69 lakh net enrolments, which can be seen as experienced workers who changed jobs for career growth and opted to be with EPFO. This bracket was followed by 18-21 years (2.66 lakh) and 2.6 lakh jobs for 35 plus category.
These numbers signal an improvement in India's job scenario post-pandemic. More than 5 lakh jobs were lost as unemployment rate soared to more than 20% during March and April 2020.
January's payroll numbers mark a month-on-month increase of 24% over December 2020. On a year-on-year (over January 2020) basis this is a 27.8% improvement.
Pan-India comparison shows that states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are in forefront of net payroll addition by adding 34.24 lakh net subscribers out of 62.49 lakh cumulative net subscribers added during the current financial year, across all age-groups.
Gender-wise analysis shows that 2.61 lakh net female subscribers were added in the month of January 2021 showing an increase of approximately 30% over the preceding month of December.