Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (GCAP India) has produced 4 policy briefs that detail the impact of COVID on sex workers, migrant workers, and indigenous communities and Muslim communities in India. You can download the report by clicking on each title.
According to the study by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (GCAP India) the average income of households was found to be considerably affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing the families dependent on sex work into a state of dire poverty in India. The average income of the sex workers saw an 82% decrease during and after the lockdown of March 2020. The income during the lockdown was ₹3780 ($ 50.4) per person per year, falling well below the poverty line. Since then, with relaxed norms of lockdown, there has been slight improvement but their current income is still 66% below their earnings before March 2020, when the national lockdown was imposed. With such huge loss in income and expenditure continuing to be high, sex workers were forced to rely on others and have reportedly raked up sizable debts trying to sustain through the pandemic. The most common reasons given for taking loans were to afford expenses of daily consumption (38%) and health needs (24%). These loans were mostly taken from self-help groups (49%) followed by microfinance banks (22%) and banks (11%).
According to the survey done among the migrant labourers in India by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (GCAP India), most of whom work in the informal sector, brings out the poor availability of employment post- pandemic. Across communities, an average of only 72 days of paid work was reported in the year 2020, which is not even 3 months, despite various employment guarantee schemes in place. Considering that a majority of the respondents are employed as wage labourers, the low work availability in the past year would have had a major impact on their earnings and capacity to save.
The COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected the lives of DNT-NT (Nomadic and denotified Tribes) indigenous communities. The restrictions on the mobility of these pastoral nomadic communities gravely hampered their means of livelihood as they mostly engage in grazing, and selling milk and related products. The forest dwelling Van Gujjars faced restrictions to enter towns and villages due to fear that they may spread COVID-19. Communities engaged in performing arts – such as the Nat and Bediya – faced a livelihood crisis due to the absence of travel and tourism. Further, many communities reported discrimination in access to relief due to the stigma attached to their communities and occupations.
The effects of the lockdown enforced due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been significant on the Muslim community in India suggests the survey done by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (GCAP India). During the pandemic, 56.67% of the total respondents were worried about not having food. Of the total respondents, 54% couldn’t eat healthy food, 21.33% could eat only few kinds of food and 7.33% skipped at least a meal.