Less number of working days among those in informal sector: Survey

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Workers employed in informal sectors have suffered major loss of work days which has left them struggling for rations as the second wave of pandemic hit the country, shows a survey by civil society organisation Centre for Labour Research and Action.

The survey was conducted across seven locations of Ajmer, Bhilwara in Rajasthan, and Mehsana, Dahod, Mahisagar, Ahmedabad, and Surat districts of Gujarat.

The total number of respondents was 590 — 454 male interviewees and 136 women interviewees for the month of April.

The workers interviewed were engaged in brick kiln, agriculture, construction, domestic, and sugarcane work.

The respondents from Ajmer and Bhilwara district of Rajasthan were brick-kiln workers, and others were construction workers, agriculture workers and domestic workers.

The study analysed the work availability, food availability, and health and pandemic among workers.

On an average, people were getting 18 days of work. Except in brick-kiln and sugarcane work, workers in others sector were getting less than an average of 15 days of work. Over 65 per cent of workers were getting less than 20 days of work, it said.

Agriculture workers were severely hit. With vegetable markets affected, the market price of vegetables had gone down. This led to hiring of less number of agriculture workers, it said. MNREGA work had stopped because of the pandemic, it said.

Availability of rations were dwindling with 47 per cent of workers saying that rations were available with them, and 53 per cent facing food shortage at their home.

While 5 per cent of people said they do not have any rations available with them, 15 per cent of workers had one month of rations available with them. While the informal sector was severely hit by the pandemic, the awareness of government announcement of free rations remained poor. It showed that only 17 per cent of workers were aware of free rations announcement.

There was resistance among the interviewees when it came to the question of vaccination with 5 per cent of respondents saying they had taken vaccination while the other 95 per cent did not.

There was fear of vaccination among workers, the survey showed.