Indians in rural India want the vaccine and a job too

PRASHNAM INSIGHT #32

The Print and Prashnam surveyed Indians in rural Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh.

As the second wave of the covid pandemic seems to have passed the peak, conditions look certainly better than the last two months. The unemployment rate which reached 23% in April has come down to 12% according to the latest CMIE data.

Returning to normal day-to-day activities and pre-covid employment levels is a daunting task ahead of all of us. The second wave has hit the rural areas more than the urban ones. The interiors of India dealt with the pandemic without a robust medical infrastructure. Lockdowns for a sustained period has already lessened whatever daily wage opportunism available for most of the rural Indians.

Prashnam decided to find out how rural India is coping up with the dual challenge of the covid pandemic on one hand and unemployment on the other.

We carried out a survey in rural areas of six Hindi speaking states in Northern India where we asked the following two questions.

Q1. If there is only one thing that the Modi govt can do at this time, what should it be?

1: Give Covid vaccine

2: Give a job to one person in your family

3: Give Rs.3000 in cash to your family.

4: I don’t know.

42% of the respondents want the Covid vaccine at the earliest. 49% of them in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan while 38% in Uttar Pradesh. However, a striking 33% of the respondents want a job ahead of the vaccine. This explains the grim employment situation in rural areas. 16 % of the respondents want an urgent cash transfer for them to make both ends meet.

Q2: Did you or anyone in your immediate family lose their job in the last six months due to coronavirus lockdown?

1: No

2: Yes

3: Don’t want to answer.

Every third respondent has lost his/her job to the sustained lockdowns for over 6 months since last year. 34% of people in more developed Haryana suffered job losses while 27% in Bihar.

Respondent profile

14516 adult Indians responded to this survey. They were from 6 states - Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh belonging to 229 districts. 72 per cent were male and 28 per cent female. 47 per cent were youth (<40 years), 38 per cent middle-aged and 15 per cent seniors (>60).

Read the full report in The Print here

The raw response data is available here.