Within the first month of India’s nationwide lockdown starting March 2020, 122 million people lost their jobs. Daily-wage laborers and small traders comprised roughly 75 percent. A report found that a year of the lockdown pushed 230 million Indians into poverty. By the end of 2020, 15 million workers were still out of jobs. Sanket Jain reports on the recently rising suicide rates in India.
In March 2020, India’s health ministry tasked 1 million Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) with COVID-19 duty in rural areas. This, in a country where 65 percent of its 1.38 billion people live outside cities. Suddenly, ASHAs’ workload increased exponentially. Yet, they remain underpaid and now suffer stress-related chronic ailments, reports Sanket Jain.