Economic hardships caused by the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been reported across India. Social protection measures have been announced by the state and central governments to ease these hardships. The key objectives of this research brief are to examine the awareness and the social protection measures received during the COVID-19 lockdown in Bihar, and the socioeconomic differentials in receiving these measures. The majority of respondents (64%) reported a family member losing their job/income-earning opportunity and lacking resources to survive for long. Awareness of social protection schemes was high (88%). Among households, 68% reported having ration cards and 95% of those reported having received rations in the month preceding the survey; 40% of ration-card holders found the quantity of rations insufficient. Cash benefits from various social protection schemes were received by 55%. Identification of households in need of social protection is required, as is streamlining the disbursement of benefits. Given the pervasive job difficulties and limited resources households have had, increasing the amount of cash transfers and creating local job opportunities need to be considered.
UNICEF and Population Council Institute. 2020. "Awareness of and receiving social protection measures during COVID-19 lockdown in Bihar, India," COVID-19 Research Results Brief #3. New Delhi: UNICEF and Population Council.
Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic; Understanding the Lives of Adolescents and Young Adults (UDAYA)