The first national survey on the impact of lockdown on rural India to be released on August 10

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.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: Last updated on August 14th, 2020,

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.

  1. How badly was your work affected due to the lockdown?
  2. Were you able to harvest your crop on time during the lockdown?
  3. Do you get 2,000 rupees every four months in your bank account from the government under the Kisaan Samman Nidhi?
  4. How difficult was it to fulfill your needs from your total household income before the lockdown?
  5. During the lockdown did your household get wheat or rice from the government as ration?
  6. When you were in the city during the lockdown how often did you get ration/grains from the local people or an NGO there?
  7. During the lockdown did you or a member of your household get any work under MGNREGA?
  8. How serious is the problem of unemployment in your village?
  9. The government and doctors are advising repeated hand-washing and maintaining of cleanliness to avoid contracting the coronavirus disease. Does your house have adequate water for this purpose?
  10. Do women or others in your household have to work extra hard to get additional water these days?
  11. During the lockdown did it ever happen that you or a household member felt the need to visit a doctor or a hospital?
  12. During the lockdown did pre-delivery checking and vaccination for pregnant happen in your area?
  13. Are pregnant women in your village getting extra rice-wheat other than the 5 kilos that they get from the government?
  14. Does any child from your household go to the Aanganwadi or Government school?
  15. Did you spend less or more on beauty care products during the lockdown?
  16. In your opinion, who does the Modi government care more about – rich or poor?
  17. How has the work of your panchayat head (pradhan/mukhiya) been in dealing with the problems emerging from the coronavirus epidemic and the lockdown?
  18. In your opinion usually what is the main reason behind people from villages migrating to cities in search of work?
  19. Does your household have a toilet inside the house?
  20. How many days did it take you to return from the city to the village?
  21. Were you screened for temperature/fever while coming here?
  22. Were you ill-treated by a police person or a government official while coming here?
  23. Did the local administration help you in returning home, I mean did they facilitate your travel by giving money, training tickets, bus service, or some other vehicle?
  24. When you were in the city during the lockdown what were you afraid of more – the coronavirus epidemic or hunger/economic distress?
  25. Would you like to go back to the city once the lockdown or the epidemic ends?