An estimated 862,500 jobs might have been lost in Assam during both the waves of the pandemic. According to a study conducted by Nowgong College (Autonomous), at Nagaon, in central Assam from May to August in 14 of the 34 districts, 22% of the workforce may have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Livelihoods were severely affected by long hours of curfew and the ban on inter-district travel as cases soared in April and May.
The study also found that more than 20% of the workforce in the state, which has 16 lakh registered educated unemployed, took up new jobs to survive, The Telegraph reported. “An estimated 2,300 employed people out of one lakh lost their jobs. 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 English daily.
The majority of jobs lost were in travel, construction, transport, textile and the hospitality sectors besides small-scale units. Daily wagers, owners of small grocery shops and fruit and vegetable vendors also lost their livelihood. More than 40% of small businessmen faced acute challenges during the lockdowns with employees of closed small-scale units turning into daily wagers, the study further revealed.
The study covered 3,500 people in 700 households in the 14 districts, Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Sonitpur, Udalguri, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Bongaigaon.
Despite Assam reporting 3,709 active cases with a positivity rate of 0.92% till Sunday, 20% of the people are not aware of COVID-19 and 22% unaware of the testing centres, the study found. Total 597,968 people have tested positive and 5,797 died in the state since the first wave started in March last year.