Study reveals 22% workforce lost their jobs in Assam during Covid
A study by an autonomous college in Assam has found that an estimated 22 per cent of the workforce may have lost their jobs in the state due to the Covid pandemic.
The study conducted by Nowgong College (Autonomous) at Nagaon in central Assam from May to August in 14 of the 34 districts also found that over 20 per cent of the workforce took up new jobs to survive.
“An estimated 2,300 employed people out of one lakh lost their jobs. Going by that estimate, an estimated 862,500 people may have lost their jobs in both the waves. The broad objective of the study was to analyse, among others, the impact of the current pandemic on life and livelihood, assess awareness level and understand the challenges posed by it as part of our college’s social responsibility,” a college faculty associated with the study told The Telegraph.
Unemployment is a major issue in the state with political parties flagging it as an important poll plank in the Assembly elections held in March-April. There are over 16 lakh registered educated unemployed in Assam.
Those who lost their jobs or changed jobs were mostly associated with the travel, construction, transport, textile and the hospitality sectors besides small-scale units. Others affected included daily wagers, those running small grocery shops and fruit and vegetable sellers.
The study also confirmed that more than 40 per cent small-time businessmen faced acute problems due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. Closure of small-scale industrial units saw most of their employees turn into daily wagers.
The voluntary exercise was conducted both offline and online jointly by the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of the college.
Altogether 100 members from both cells of the college, led by principal Sarat Borkataki and IQAC coordinator Bhuban Ch. Chutia, initiated the study jointly through a structured online form, covering a population of 3,500 in 700 households in 14 districts.
The districts included Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Sonitpur, Udalguri, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Bongaigaon.
The state government imposed long curfew hours
and barred inter-district travel as cases soared in April and May, affecting lives and livelihoods.
Economic activities have started picking up as the government began to ease curbs by August-end. Government and private schools resumed classes for Class X students from Monday after a gap of four months by adhering to Covid protocols.
Till Sunday, Assam had 3,709 active cases with a positivity rate of 0.92 per cent. Altogether 597,968 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 5,797 have died since the first wave that started in March 2020 in the state.
The study also revealed that 20 per cent of the people are not aware of Covid-19 while 22 per cent were unaware of coronavirus testing centres, something which is reflected in people without masks in public places despite the standard operating procedures being issued by the administration.
The survey also found that 63 per cent of the rural people faced Internet issues due to poor connectivity and 59.3 percent of the urban people preferred online transactions due to the pandemic.