As India emerges from a nation-wide lockdown, it finds itself in uncharted territory, with the pandemic fundamentally altering the way we work, learn and communicate.
Perhaps the most affected is its young population, who represent 65% of India’s 1.3 billion people. It is within this context that this study aims to understand the perceptions and experiences of the lockdown among India’s urban youth.
This report outlines findings from a study of youth in India between the ages of 18 and 32, living in the country’s largest cities, including, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
The idea behind the survey was to understand how the lockdown has affected their schooling or work, their access to healthcare and insurance, the impacts of the lockdown on their mental wellbeing, and their opinion of the government’s ability to respond to the crisis.
Here are the findings from the responses:
of the respondents were employed prior to the lockdown and 23% were students.
Delhi held the highest number of respondents, followed by Mumbai (22%), Bengaluru (18.4%), Kolkata (18.3%), Chennai (8.8%) and Hyderabad (5.5%)
respondents were living with their family, 11% were living alone, 8% were with their significant other, 6% with housemates or friends and 4% with their extended family.
When asked if their educational institute made provisions to ensure for them to continue their studies during the lockdown, students responded:
At the same time, 52%
of the student respondents selected self study as their most common mode of study.
60% of the working respondents were working from home, while 25% were sitting idle since the nature of their job didn't allow remote working.
of the respondents also said that they felt supported by their employer.
For both students and working professionals, Bengaluru appeared as the most prepared city in providing digital access and support.
of respondents said they have health insurance either through their employer or privately.
respondents have paid sick leave.
At the same time, 66%
respondents think they would have access to healthcare when needed.
respondents agreed or strongly agreed to having access to all basic necessities during the lockdown.
respondents felt that their mental health has been somewhat or strongly impacted during the lockdown. When asked if they felt lonely during the lockdown, they responded:
respondents also said they connected with someone they hadn't been in touch with recently.
respondents contributed to government and NGO initiatives aimed at responding to the coronavirus crisis, donations being the most common method.
respondents did not feel safe from physical and emotional harm during the lockdown.
More non-binary youth reported feeling unsafe from physical and emotional harm.
respondents living with their extended family report feeling unsafe from physical and emotional harm.
respondents said they had enough and accurate information about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves from it.
also selected that they would first call the state helpline if they or someone in their household exhibited COVID-19 symptoms.
respondents expressed confidence in the government's ability to respond effectively to the crisis.
When asked about countries India should take lessons from, respondents turned towards South Korea, China and Japan as examples in managing the pandemic.
respondents felt that the lockdown was a necessary step to curb the spread of COVID-19.
respondents reported that they followed all of the lockdown guidelines.
This study set out to understand the implications of one of the world’s strictest nation-wide lockdowns on urban youth in India, and the findings offer policy-relevant glimpse into the impacts of the lockdown. It highlights different aspects, from strengthening access to education and remote learning, providing better healthcare support, to addressing mental health in post lockdown India. The findings of the study can go a long way in prepping the plan of action as India heads into Unlock 2.0!