There was a large increase in informal employment due to coronavirus, showed a report. Salaried employees fell back on self-employment and daily wage work. Agriculture and trade emerged as the fallback sectors, while education, health and professional services sectors saw the highest outflow.
The 'State of Working India 2021: One Year of COVID-19' report by the Azim Premji University reveals that workers came back to more precarious and informal forms of employment after the 2020 lockdown. The report shows that nearly half of formal salaried workers moved to informal work, either as self-employed (30%), casual wage (10%) or informal salaried (9%) workers between late 2019 and late 2020.
Caste and religion also heavily impacted the fallback option. General category workers and Hindus were more likely moved into self-employment, while the marginalised caste workers and Muslims fell back upon daily wage work.
Sectors such as education, health and professional services saw the highest outflow of workers. And on the other hand, agriculture, construction and petty trade were the fallback sectors. The report stated that around 18 per cent of education sector workers have now moved to agriculture. A similar share of health sector workers also moved to petty trade.
Agriculture was a major fallback sector for Hindus. Moreover, the sector absorbed 10-20 per cent of workers from other sectors. Trade was the major fallback for Muslims. Around 20-35 per cent of workers from other sectors are now in trade.
As workers moved to informal sectors, monthly earnings also fell on an average by 17 per cent. This fall was also compounded by depressed economic conditions. Self-employed and informal workers faced the highest loss of earnings. Casual and daily wage worker saw a dip of 13 per cent in salary from a year-ago, while self-employed saw 18 per cent dip, temporary salaried saw 17 per cent dip, and permanent salaried a 5 per cent dip.