Updated: January 29, 2021 7:51:56 am
A survey of 2,087 people across all wards in Mumbai to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted their livelihood has found that at least 66 per cent either lost their jobs or their employment avenues were adversely affected.
While at least 47 per cent respondents said they had to dip into their savings to pay for household expenses, 66 per cent said they had difficulty in affording house rent during lockdown.
The survey, conducted by Praja Foundation, looked at the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown on sectors like health, education, economic and transport services.
On the issue of public transport, many respondents said that they would now prefer to travel in buses than trains. In the pre pandemic world, 31 of the respondents preferred to travel in buses. Now, 34 per cent respondents said that they would prefer to travel in buses.
While in pre pandemic times, 32 per cent respondents preferred to travel in trains, only 23 per cent preferred this mode of public transport now.
People also seem to prefer walking to work in the post pandemic world. While earlier, 17 per cent respondents preferred walking, the figure has increased to 21 per cent now. There is no change in the preference for cabs, autorickshaws and personal cars before and after the pandemic.
Milind Mhaske, project director in Praja, said: “Place of livelihood and place where one resides needs to be close. We realised that during the pandemic, people could not travel far for work. There is a strong case for increasing the number of buses. Even in our survey, people said they prefer road transport now. Our over dependence on the railway did not help during the pandemic. Our recommendation is to strengthen and increase the frequency of public buses.”
Those surveyed have said that sanitised seats, contactless ticketing and reduced crowding may encourage them to opt for public transport.
The survey covered skilled and unskilled labourers, shopowners, office executives, salesmen, clerical workers and household residents. Of the 2,087 respondents, 36 per cent said they were forced to go on leave without salary and 25 per cent said they worked without salary during the lockdown.
While the lockdown impacted all professions, for some working groups, it was worse. While 66 per cent office-goers said they were paid less but forced to work extra hours, 51 per cent of clerical and supervisory staff and 46 per cent of unskilled workers said they worked without pay.
“Income has reduced by 28 per cent of those surveyed,” said Jennifer Spencer, who is part of the Praja research team that undertook the survey.
The survey also looked at migration and how the concept of “work from home” is faring. Of all the people surveyed, 23 per cent had moved out of Mumbai. This included people who had lost their job and those working from remote locations outside the city. Women were more enthused to continue working from home as compared to men.
Further, the survey assessed the scope of online education. Poor Internet connectivity was a common complaint, but more concerning issues were of eyesight problems faced by children due to long exposure to screens, physical inaction and frustration for being confined to home.
Spencer said that both online and offline classes could be used as a combined tool in the future. “In 82 per cent cases, parents said teachers trained them to use online education platforms,” she added. But 54 per cent of those surveyed said they prefer classroom teaching to online classes and that it was safe to return to schools.
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