Amid the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdowns, rural India was completely blanked out. Gaon Connection Survey will reveal the unseen face of the rural India.
In a first-of-its-kind national survey on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on rural India, Gaon Connection is set to release its findings that reflect the untold miseries rural citizens faced during the lockdown, including mounting debt, increasing hunger, complete loss of livelihoods, and inability to access healthcare. It will also reveal if rural citizens are satisfied with the manner in which the government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, based on face-to-face detailed interviews with 25,300 respondents, was carried out in 179 districts across 20 states and three Union Territories by Gaon Connection Insights, the data and insights arm of India’s largest rural media platform. The survey was designed and data analysed by the New Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies (Lokniti-CSDS).
These survey findings have been put together in the form of a report – The Rural Report – by Gaon Connection. This exhaustive report, to be released on August 10 along with the survey findings, is the first set of national insights documenting the post-COVID-19 impact on rural India.
Two months into the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Gaon Connection in consultation with the Lokniti programme of the CSDS, conducted this rural survey. The survey was conducted in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Odisha, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. The surveyed Union Territories are Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
In addition to the interview with the main earner in every household, a supplementary interview was also conducted in those households where a household member had returned from a city or a town during the lockdown. This interview was taken after the completion of the main earner’s interview. A total of 963 supplementary interviews of such migrants were completed. The aim of interviewing migrants was to find out their experience and struggle in the city/town at the time of the lockdown and their experience/ordeal in travelling back home during the lockdown.
The fieldwork for the survey was conducted by Gaon Connection’s members in each district. All interviews were conducted face-to-face at/outside with the residence of the interviewee. During the interview, the interviewers from Gaon Connection made sure that they were wearing a mask and maintained a distance of one metre between themselves and the interviewee while asking the questions.
The survey was conducted using a structured and standardised interview schedule that was administered via a specially designed mobile-phone application. The interview schedule was designed by researchers at CSDS for Gaon Connection. The main interview took about 30-35 minutes to complete on average whereas the supplementary interview took about 15-20 minutes.
The survey data was analysed by researchers at Lokniti, CSDS for Gaon Connection.
The findings of the survey, to be released shortly today, throw light on how the rural population, including migrant workers, survived the longest nation-wide lockdown. So far, most of the reportage or findings on the impacts of lockdown are from urban centres. Gaon Connection Survey shifts focus towards rural India where two in three Indians live.
‘The Rural Report’ of Gaon Connection, based on the detailed questionnaire, is divided into 11 broad themes/chapters. These include – Migration, Impact on farmers, Impact on poultry and dairy farmers, Hunger, Livelihood and MGNREGA, Government schemes, Debt and financial stress, Health, Water, Perceptions, Asset ownership and next six months.
In a short while from now, Gaon Connection Survey findings will be released. Gaon Connection has handed over the mike to rural India. Sit up and listen. And, amplify its voice.
Of the total 83 questions in our questionnaire, here are 25 key questions we asked the rural citizens.