Covid-19 has had a great impact on everybody’s life. This pandemic in which we are still surviving has been a curse for us. COVID-19 is defined as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus, called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, China.
The virus flourished worldwide, and billions of people had to lose their lives because of the virus. According to the statistics in 2021, 1,36,99,048 have tested Covid positive, 1,71,121 have died and 1,22,54,410 have recovered from the virus.
As I said in the foremost line, we were affected by the coronavirus’s aftermath and so it also wrapped the daily wage earners. In the lockdown, the struggle of daily wage workers got real. Since Covid and the lockdown, there has been a severe crisis of employment opportunities in local labour markets. People have had to migrate from one city to another in search of money.
Think about the street vendors who earn their livelihood by feeding you the food you crave for. Their life was devastated in this period because selling food was the only source of income for their family. Getting work for even 2 days a week is difficult for them.
Daily wages, too, for any work possible, have dipped by half. As per the IGSSS developmental project rapid research, around 1.3 billion daily wage earners were impacted by Covid-19. The observations are that there is a significant income loss for rural households; loss of livelihoods for small and marginal farmers, landless families, and daily wage earners, further compounding them into severe poverty, unfavourable compromises and ill health.
Farmers faced an impasse as they could not work on their farmland, did not get lucrative prices for their produce and access to markets. Data from Lucknow indicates that the mean monthly income (from labour work) has fallen by 62%, that is, from ₹9,500 per month in pre-pandemic times to ₹3,500 now. In Pune, too, an average worker’s mean monthly income fell from ₹10,000 to ₹4,500, a 54.5% decline.
Even after the lockdown, most of those from outside the city haven’t been called for work. Those from outside the state are being discouraged from coming and working. A few of them who managed to come, prospective employers would say, “You have come from out of town and would have brought the virus with you”.
There has been a considerable plunge in wages of daily workers. In Lucknow, mean daily wages fell from ₹430 to ₹360 per day. Similarly, in Pune, wage rates fell from ₹450 to ₹390 per day. Usually, wage determination in a given labour market is dependent on numerous factors: nature of work, identity, the average experience of the worker in a vocation, home state of the worker and more.
Researchers in Pune observed that workers who have worked in the city for a longer duration (for example, 10 years) began their wage negotiations at a higher wage.
Seeing that we are aware that social media brings our attention towards any issue prevailing in a society. Thus, helping the daily wage earners, social media acts as a leg-up for them. Besides that, I want to pen down few effective ways to succour them:
I know the condition is really bad for all of us and surviving the battle day to day is getting worse. We cannot fulfil all the requirement of farmers or the daily wage earners who lost their livelihood, but at least we can combine and contribute together, so their life gets settled.
I wanted to put down my thoughts about what I feel about the condition of the daily wage earners and that’s why I started writing this article. It’s rightly said or heard that this thing cannot be experienced further, so whatever you are going through, you must not regret it later.
This time will pass and you will not even get a minute to do what you want. I didn’t want to get that penitence and so started utilising it by helping the people who require it.