Economic policy needs to address those who have seen the greatest distress during lockdown -Sonalde Desai, Neerad Deshmukh and Santanu Pramanik

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published Published on Oct 20, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 20, 2020

-The Indian Express

The urban poor is still finding it difficult to return to work. Targeting social safety nets towards them is necessary as the economy struggles to recover.

While COVID-19 continues its assault on human lives, the Indian economy, after the devastation in the wake of the lockdown, is showing signs of recovering. Data from a variety of sources, such as exports and car sales, as well as data from NCAER’s Business Expectations Survey, point to the onset of a recovery. A new employment survey in the Delhi-NCR region, fielded by NCAER, adds to this chorus. However, it also points to the unevenness of this recovery and the continued vulnerability of specific populations.

NCAER’s National Data Innovation Centre initiated a monthly telephone survey of men and women in the age group of 21-59 in March 2019 to improve the measurement of women’s work. The sample for the survey was drawn to be representative of the 31 districts falling within Delhi-NCR. This includes both urban and rural areas, some as far away as Bharatpur and Jind. This survey would have ended in April this year, but with the onset of lockdown, after a brief hiatus, it was extended to measure the impact of the lockdown and its gradual relaxation. Telephone interviews with about 2,200 adults, who were interviewed monthly between March 2019 and September 2020, paint an interesting picture. While every individual did not respond to each monthly survey, contrasting employment in the second quarter of the calendar year (April-June) and third quarter (July-Sept) for 2019 and 2020 for the same population, allows for robust year-on-year comparison.

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The Indian Express, 20 October, 2020,

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