India is predominantly an agrarian economy whose contribution to the national income is drastic. There have been major economic implications due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. They have slowed down the economic activity drastically throughout the world. The urban population was affected but with it the rural population has also been affected majorly. The majority of the poor live in these areas and their main livelihood has been agriculture. Factors like physical distance, relative seclusion, lower population, and their own cultivation of food, play in the favor of rural areas. However, they are especially powerless against experiencing extreme effects of the pandemic and the resulting economic depression. Rural areas especially in the developing world, are considerably less capable to manage the immediate and indirect consequences of the crisis.

The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc globally forcing to resort to a nationwide lockdown. In India, it came into effect on the 25th March 2020.  Throughout the lockdown, all establishments were authorized to be shut except those running shops for essential services like; food, water, medicines and electricity. Essential services also included banking services, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. Transportation of all goods (including essential and non-essential) stayed functional, however, fueled an unprecedented reverse migration of farmers, back to their homes from densely populated areas. Reports came in from various parts of the country, that these migrant laborers were being abandoned because railways and buses were suspended. Many even walked across huge distances to reach their respective villages, whereas others were not permitted to cross the state boundaries. Due to the fact that most of the workers were day to day laborers, and employed by private sectors, most of them lost their livelihood.


Let us talk about the major problems faced by the rural populace during this pandemic:


  1. Unemployment- The skilled laborers and daily wage workers lost their livelihood. A considerable proportion of rural household earnings are obtained through daily-wage labourers. The informal industry in cities being adversely affected has resulted in loss of rural income.


  1. Lack of awareness- Due to lack of knowledge about the pandemic, the rural population suffered immensely. They had a limited supply of clean water, low levels of nutrition and most importantly, ill-equipped and insufficient public healthcare centers.


  1. Production failure- The harvesting of crops got delayed due to unavailability of labor, machinery and movement restrictions. Hence, neither the harvest nor the labourers could profit from this outcome. An example would be, farmers in Tamil Nadu failing to cultivate flowers as a cash crop, incurred losses in the season of peak earning.


  1. Decreased agriculture, indebted farms unable to absorb surplus labour- Agricultural households at the bottom of the pyramid were hit hard the most. This was due to farm produce having least access to markets, declining their levels of income and pushing them further into poverty.


  1. Earnings hit an all time low- Reports suggested lesser food intake during the national lockdown last year, and even months later about 20 percent still reported a similar trend. A majority of workers reported a decline in income levels, and about 15 million people remained unemployed by the end of 2020.


  1. Poverty increased Irrespective of relief aid- Despite relief measures being carried out by the government, the income of majority of the households fell and poverty rose to a huge percentage accounting a 60% rise, in global poverty to be precise. Even though relief measures for the welfare of the people, were by the government, there remains impactful economic pain among poor households even after a year later. the really dramatic thing about this pandemic, especially in India”, is it is pushing new people into poverty in urban areas where incomes are comparatively higher than rural areas.


Short-term solutions to curb the effects of the pandemic, focused on emergency measures to improve health and access to healthcare services to maintain the essential services in rural areas. They shed light on how vulnerable the rural communities are and the implications that come with it. They focused to improve the resilience of vulnerable rural communities.

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