Eighty-eight percent of rural households in India report a drop in income due to COVID-19-related lockdown measures. A study from the Chicago Booth School of Business found the same to be true for 75% of urban households, suggesting a relatively more precarious financial position for those working in rural areas.
The study, conducted between April 18 and April 30, 2020, covered nearly 6,000 households across 27 states in India and measured per capita monthly income, divided into five earning segments. The highest-income quintile is the least likely to report financial losses on average, including in specifically rural areas, but the percentage of households experiencing financial losses is still significantly higher in rural areas. Eighty-one percent of rural households in the fifth quintile have experienced financial losses — versus 55% of urban households.
The Indian government stimulus package has included “cash transfers and food rations for poor families and women,” according to the Atlantic Council. But the response has been criticized as a “lost opportunity” and ultimately insufficient to revive its economy.