During the pandemic, governments all overthe world faced the difficult choice ofsaving lives versus protecting livelihoods. According to the World Economic Outlook report of April, 2021 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), almost all countries, except China, experienced economic contraction last year. The global GDP shrunk by 3.3%.
India’s GDP fell by 8%. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimates, the unemployment rate in India peaked at 23.5% in April 2020 before falling to 6.9% in February 2021.
In the wake of economic deceleration, the challenge isto minimise livelihood losses. Traditionally, governments have addressed this issue from a sectoral viewpoint given the contemporary realities, the need isto approach this from a rural-urban perspective.
Social Security Issues Faced By Urban India
Spread of Infection: In the Covid-19 outbreak in India, big cities such as– Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai – were the main urban epicentres of the disease.
Rural-Urban Livelihood Security Divide: Though the Indian government operates the National Urban Livelihoods Mission(NULM), which is focused on self-employment through skill up-gradation and credit linkages through banks, the scheme does not have guaranteed wage employment provisions akin to what MGNREGA provides.
Economic Effect: The economic crisis in urban areas is deepening as people who lost their jobs are yet to find replacements and little has been accomplished after the lockdown forthe revival of livelihoodsin the informal sector in the Indian urban area.
The Need to Focus on Urban Areas
Major Contributor to Economy: Urban areas are an integral part of the development process of the country. As in most countries, India’s urban areas make a major contribution to the country’s economy.
Magnet For Businesses: The cities are a collective magnet for a great diversity of economic activities. The cities attract business and people, as a result ofscale and agglomeration advantages(supply of educational facilities, presence of suppliers, etc).
Hotbed of Social Capital: The cities are a hotbed of social capital or as a ‘melting pot’ of culturally or socially diversified groups.
Cities are Power Centres: The city is an ever-expanding power-block, which reinforces its position to the detriment of towns and villages in its hinterland.
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