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Minimizing the impact of the pandemic on India’s most vulnerable populations

During a crisis, the emphasis needs to be on including those who really deserve the help rather than making sure the wrong people are kept out. An Indian Express Op Ed written by Dalberg’s Gaurav Gupta, Omidyar Network India’s Roopa Kudva, and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani shares why.

A July 2020 Op Ed in the Indian Express draws on the findings of a multi-round survey of more than 47,000 households, mostly below the poverty line, across 15 Indian states. The study explores whether relief schemes in India have been working as intended, who is missing out and what more is needed.

The op-ed, which is co-authored by Omidyar Network India’s Roopva Kudva, Dalberg’s Gaurav Gupta, and Rohini Nilekani points to the immediate, and likely long-lasting, nature of the economic shock. Data from the survey is shared, with findings including:

  • Primary income earners in two-thirds of the households have lost their jobs or wages.
  • The average family has lost more than 60 per cent of its pre-crisis income and is now making just Rs 4,000/month.
  • Twenty four per cent of low-income households have run out of money and supplies.
  • Forty per cent families are in debt. In some states, as many as one in five primary income earners do not expect to find work in the near future.

The authors share that ‘We are in a marathon when it comes to this pandemic. People will need support for longer than anticipated…Let’s make free basic rations available to whoever claims to need it.”

Read the full Op-Ed in the Indian Express.

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