Indians more worried about economic crisis than virus, says online study by CMEE

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 20, 2020

Small businesses have been the hardest hit during the lockdown   -  Bloomberg

Study covered 23 States and 104 cities in India

As India gets into lockdown 4.0, what is the pervading feeling among citizens? A pan-India online study conducted by Centre for Marketing in Emerging Economies (CMEE) at IIM Lucknow on “Understanding public sentiment during lockdown” reveals that majority (79 per cent) of people are worried and surrounded by feelings of fear (40 per cent) and sadness (22 per cent).

Significantly, the worry of getting infected was not the biggest reason for anxiety or depression — instead, the feelings were related to the economic impact of the lockdown. The participants of this study covered 23 States and 104 cities in India across metros, tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

A 48-year-old male working professional from Noida says, “The absence of economic activities will put pressure on the workforce, there will be job loss, no upward correction of income but prices will continue to grow.”

A 22-year-old male student from Jabalpur says, We are worried about our future as this pandemic could set back our chances by at least a few years. The mismanagement in the present and as well as in future can severely impact the career of several deserving candidates.”

Despite worries, majority (60 per cent) of people expressed confidence in India’s ability to curb the spread of pandemic. Measures by the government like lockdown, social distancing, and contract tracing were reasons cited for this confidence.

Confidence levels increased from 57 per cent during Lockdown 1.0 to 63 per cent in Lockdown 2.0 as health infrastructure improved with news of masks, PPE kits arriving, and better protocols being set.

Public compliance, a worry

A 50-year-old software professional from Mumbai saysDue to the unprecedented lockdown measures taken by the Central and State governments, we should be able to come out of this better than many other countries.”

However, a sizeable chunk (40 per cent) did not feel confident as they believe that compliance of the public with the government guidelines remains an issue and also the country’s preparedness of the health infrastructure, if the virus were to spread.

A 33-year-old working professional of Mumbai says, “People do not understand the gravity of the situation. I can easily see people roaming around. Social distancing is not being followed. Even after the announcement of national lockdown, migrants are moving from one place to another, putting everybody at risk, even though the intention of the government was good.”

This research study was conducted by IIM staff in association with professionals from Qualisys Research & Consulting as well as a former executive from data insights company Kantar.

The study was conducted online in English with about 931 respondents across various social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Snowballing sampling methods were used to cover a fairly representative sample across India and covered the Lockdown 1.0 & 2.0 period (March 25 to May 3).

Published on May 20, 2020

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