As per ILO( International Labour Organisation) 400 million Indians, including migrant workers and daily wage earners, are at risk of being pushed deeper into poverty because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More on News:

  • The Geneva-based body’s warning comes at a time when the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across India and a complete relaxation of the lockdown post April 14 looks bleak.
  • As per ILO this could be the most severe economic crisis since the Second World War.
  • The forecast indicates that there may be lasting economic damage from the shock caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

Findings of ILO:

  • Covid-19 pandemic has impacted 81% of the world’s workforce.
  • Lower- and middle-income countries may face a bigger challenge than developed nations, and there was an urgent need to protect jobs and wages of employees.
  • The global workforce watchdog indicated that the unemployment scenario is unlikely to improve in the second quarter of 2020, and working hours will fall by 6.7% in Q2, which is equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.
  • Manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, accommodation and food services, which account for nearly 38% of the global workforce, were being hit the most.
  • Transport and entertainment are facing medium to high impacts, while public health and education will be least impacted.
  • India Specific:
    • In India, with a share of almost 90% of people working in the informal economy, about 400 million workers in the informal economy are at risk of falling deeper into poverty during the crisis
    • It has warned that things may worsen in rural India due to reverse migration, while in urban pockets employment may not pick up due to low demand.
    • Workers will be facing a drastic reduction in working hours, wage cuts and layoffs.
    • Current lockdown measures in India, which are at the high end of the University of Oxford’s covid-19 Government Response Stringency Index, have impacted these workers significantly, forcing many of them to return to rural areas.
    • Countries like India, Nigeria and Brazil, with a lion’s share of their workforce in the informal sector, need to take guard to arrest poverty among their working class.

ILO warning corroborates local data:

  • The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s weekly tracker survey showed that the unemployment rate shot up from 8.4% in mid-March to 23% in the week ended 5 April, reflecting job losses because of the 21-day lockdown that started on 25 March.
  • While urban unemployment rate was 30.9%, the rural unemployment rate was over 20%, the data showed.

Way Ahead:

4 pillar solution by ILO

  • Stimulating the Economy and Employment:
    • Active Fiscal Policy
    • Accomodative Monetary Policy
    • Lending and Financial support to specific sectors
  • Supporting Enterprises and Jobs :
    • Extend social protection for all
    • Implement Job retention measures
    • Provide Tax holiday to enterprises
  • Protecting workers at workplace:
    • Adapt new work arrangements
    • Prevent discrimination and exclusion 
    • Expand access to paid leave 
  • Open Social Dialogue :
    • Strengthen worker’s resilience
    • Improve collective bargaining
    • Strengthen Government’s Capacity

International Labour Organisation:

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards.
  • It was the first specialised agency of the UN which came into existence in 1919.
  • It is headquartered at Geneva.
  • The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO. 
  • The tripartite structure is unique to the ILO where representatives from the government, employers and employees openly debate and create labour standards.
  • It has developed a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity
  • It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving fraternity and peace among nations, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations


Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT):

  • It aims to track and compare government responses to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide rigorously and consistently.
  • Systematic information on which governments have taken which measures, and when, can help decision-makers and citizens understand the robustness of governmental responses in a consistent way, aiding efforts to fight the pandemic. 
  • The OxCGRT systematically collects information on several different common policy responses governments have taken, scores the stringency of such measures, and aggregates these scores into a common Stringency Index.
  • It collects publicly available information on 13 indicators of government response (S1-S13). 
  • Nine of the indicators (S1-S7, S12 and S13) take policies such as school closures, travel bans, etc. are recorded on an ordinal scale; the remainder (S8-S11) are financial indicators such as fiscal or monetary measures.


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