Findings of an ongoing survey started by students and staff at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on March 24, conducted to assess the circumstances and needs of low-income households in Ahmedabad in the midst of the lockdown, reveal that around 54% of respondents have reduced the number of meals their families consume per day, quantity of food per meal and milk given to children, since the lockdown was imposed.
Around 60% of respondents said that their current food supply would last them less than a week. Around 130 households were respondents between April 23 and May 2 for the survey that is being conducted telephonically.
“From three meals a day to only once a day…only eating in the afternoon…meal portions have reduced,” stated a few of the respondents. Monthly income of 90% of these households is less than Rs 19,500, the median income of a representative sample in urban Ahmedabad.
“This indicates the households in the survey are more disadvantaged than a representative sample of urban Ahmedabad. Given their incomes, the status of these households is indicative of the likely situation being faced by at least half of the over 6 million population, who are also of a similar income profile, residing in Ahmedabad,” the report stated.
“Food supply is there, but all is being purchased through credit. As long as people lend… we will survive, manage via neighbours..Main akela nahi hu sahab, meri poori line mein sabko madad chahiye; aap kis kis ko madad de paoge? (I’m not alone, everyone in my profession needs help; how many of us will you be able to help?)…Company mein phone kiye the, umeed tha ki madad kar denge, koi nahi uthaya wahan (I had called my company hoping they would help, nobody picked up),” other respondents shared.
Around 85% of the households in the survey reported not earning regular incomes anymore. “Most households have lost their monthly incomes (between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 for a large section) and expressed anxiety about their ability to pay rent, school fees, telephone and electricity bills, etc. Households continue reporting not having the means to procure basics like ration, milk, vegetables, toiletries,” the report highlighted.
Pertaining to the Public Distribution System (PDS), only 64% of surveyed households said they had collected the ration for the month, even though over 85% claimed to have a ration card for the place they were currently residing at.
Among those who had ration cards, the reasons cited for not being able to access ration included shops in their vicinity being shut, shops having a low supply of grains or being overcrowded. Some respondents said they were denied entry and asked to come after May 15. A few households also claimed to have received less than the promised quantity of ration.
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