Around 68% rural Indians faced ‘high’ monetary difficulty during lockdown: Survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 10, 2020

Only 20% got work under MGNREGA; but 74% are satisfied with govt’s handling of the pandemic

More than 68 per cent rural Indians faced “high” to “very high” monetary difficulty during the lockdown, according to a survey by Gaon Connection, a rural insight organisation.

The survey titled, “The Rural Report- By Gaon Connection” said that about 23 per cent rural Indians borrowed money during the lockdown, 8 per cent sold a valuable possession (phone, watch etc), 7 per cent mortgaged jewellery, and 5 per cent sold or mortgaged land.

It further added that 38 per cent of the rural households reported having gone without necessary medicine or medical treatment often or sometimes during the lockdown. In Assam, 87 per cent rural households said they did not receive the required medical treatment followed by 66 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh.

“Rural India has not been part of the national media narrative in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. This survey offers powerful insights into how rural India dealt with this crisis, and what it plans to do ahead — including questions like, will they return to cities? Will they change spending patterns?” said Neelesh Misra, Founder, Gaon Connection.

The report is divided into different themes that include impact on farmers, financial stress and debt, livelihoods and MGNREGA, pregnant women’s health, hunger, and future plans of rural citizens.

It said 23 per cent migrant workers returned home walking during the lockdown. Over 33 per cent migrant workers said they want to go back to the cities to work.


Only 20 per cent respondents said they got work under MGNREGA in the lockdown. Chhattisgarh reported the highest percentage of such households at 70 per cent followed by Uttarakhand (65 per cent) and Rajasthan (59 per cent). Gujarat and UTs of Jammu and Kashmir-Ladakh reported the lowest work under MGNREGA at 2 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

The survey, based on face-to-face detailed interviews with 25,300 respondents, was carried out in 179 districts across 20 States and three Union Territories by Gaon Connection Insights, the data and insights arm of India’s largest rural media platform. The survey was designed, and data analysed by New Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies (Lokniti-CSDS).

However, according to the survey 74 per cent rural respondents said they were satisfied with the manner in which the government has handled the pandemic.

“We wanted the voices of rural people to be heard by the people living in small towns, cities, and especially those who are engaged with policy making,” said Sanjay Kumar, Professor, CSDS.

Published on August 10, 2020

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