COVID-19 took the entire world by tremors. Countries are put under lockdown, economic activities are abandoned, measures are taken as if it’s a war of worlds. People were completely alien to such a health hazard. Every industry faced its consequences. Seventy percent of the Indian population lives in Rural backgrounds, lockdown had a severe impact on this 70% population. People in Rural Areas have completely thrived for Amenities and services and this caused a major disruption in the common working of Agricultural as well as Non-Agricultural livelihoods.
• IMPACT ON PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON AGRICULTURE
India is a Nation with a big chunk of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) belonging to the Agricultural Sector. Rural areas especially are mostly dependent on Agricultural or related activities.
A complete lockdown was announced by Central Government on 25 March which is the end of the Rabi crop season. The season when farmers expect to get gains for their hard toil of one complete cropping season. The timings of lockdown disallowed many to sell their crops at profitable prices, lack of cold storage facilities and transportation resulted in crop failure impacting many. The other major sources of income for people based in the Agriculture sector are dairy and horticulture they were hit the hardest.
People who were employed in Dairy product-based services we’re majorly affected by lack of transportation and a big dip in product demand. Dairy products except Ghee do not last long, the need immediate dispersal of products to consumers but lockdown made large voids in the transportation chains resulting in losses to Dairies.
India is the second-largest fruit producer in the world, Horticulture output in total is about 313.9 million metric tons. Not every fruit and vegetable grow everywhere, these are extremely area-specific. The closure of the wholesale markets resulted in differences between demand and supply chain. The horticulture sector is majorly dependent on intermediaries, the closing of their shutters lead to a devastating outcome.
Fisheries & Poultries
The same reasons cited above affected fisheries and poultries too. A narrative due to rumored speculation of virus transfer from these products too caused a dent on this sector.
Agricultural based livelihood certainly got disturbed by Lockdown but the points that most of these were placed under essential services, and favoring government policies proved out to be a breather.
• IMPACT ON PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON NON-AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Non- Agricultural Sector got more severely affected. I need not remind you that most of the Indian population resides in Rural surroundings and majorly contributes to Nations Growth. The non-Agricultural sector comprises about 47% of the Indian Economy. The big portion of Indian workforce hails from Rural backgrounds .We need not look at all of it as number but as real-life individuals and groups who face massive losses. Non-Agricultural Sector majorly comprises of two types.
I. Manufacturing Sector:- This sector faced impacts of closure of international borders as all the imports-exports got affected, closure of domestic markets deepened this wound, all employees were made to rest at home. A high number of individuals we’re terminated from their jobs and it all impacted regular rural and urban households.
II. Services Sector:- All Services except essential, emergency and healthcare services were put to close. This too impacted a humongous number of households. Gyms, Schools, Restaurants, Hotels, Entertainment parks, Theatres, Transportation all these are yet to get the green signal from authorities. Like every other sector, this sector too will take lots of effort to recover.
Logically speaking it is impossible to talk about India excluding rural India. Indian economy took a deep dig, GDP slipped to straight 9% and it will take time and great efforts to recover, and we as Indians are ready to get it back on track.
Among other negatives of this pandemic, one positive for India that shone brightly is self-sufficiency and each capability of each unit to function by itself. Rural India hence sets an example to the world of Indian potential.
By:- Shubham Yadav