Effect of COVID-19 lockdown on the livelihood of street vendors in Maharashtra, India
Keywords:Street vendors, COVID-19, Maharashtra, Lockdown, Perishable goods vendors, India
Background: As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the lockdown was implemented as the main preventive measure to contain the spread of the virus across the world. India also went under one of the most stringent nationwide lockdowns which affected the workers of the informal sector the most. This study aims to explore the impact of the COVID-19 and lockdown on the livelihood of street vendors in the Maharashtra state, one of the severely affected states, of India.
Methods: Telephonic in-depth interviews were conducted from 16th May to 1st June 2020 with 20 street vendors who sold perishable goods for their livelihood. Interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis was used in analysing the data.
Results: There were a total of twelve food vendors and eight fruits and vegetable vendors in the study sample. The mean age of food vendors recorded was 36.91 years; the average years of working recorded were 12.25; the mean education level was 7.83; and the average household size recorded was 5.25. Out of the total food vendors, 10 were males and two were females. The majority of the food vendors belong to the Vidarbha region, followed by Khandesh and Western Maharashtra.
Conclusions: Findings of the study show that lockdown affected street vendors multidimensionally. Street vendors had to stop working and many had to change their profession to selling fruits and vegetables within a limited time zone with greater livelihood challenges and financial hardships.
Coronavirus WH. Dashboard| WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard with Vaccination Data. Available at: https://covid19.who.int/. Accessed 2 July 2021.
Government of India. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 2021. Available at https://covid19.nhp.gov.in. Accessed 08 July 2021.
Lancet T. India under COVID-19 lockdown. Lancet. 2020;395(10233):1315.
India Today. Two with travel history to Dubai test positive for coronavirus in Pune. India Today. 2020. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/two-with-travel-history-to-dubai-test-positive-for-coronavirus-in-pune-1654113-2020-03-09. Accessed 11 June 2020.
BBC. COVID-19 lockdown costs India 120 million jobs. BBC News. sec. India, 2020. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52559324. Accessed 11 June 2020.
Prasad V, Sri BS, Gaitonde R. Bridging a false dichotomy in the COVID-19 response: a public health approach to the ‘lockdown’ debate. BMJ Global Health. 2020;5(6):e002909.
Government of India. Annual report, periodic labour force survey, 2017-18, 2018. Available at: http://mospi.nic.in/publication/annual-report-plfs-2017-18. Accessed 11 June 2020.
International Labour Organization. Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A statistical Picture Second Edition, 2013. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---stat/documents/publication/wcms_234413.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2020.
Women in informal employment: Globalizing and organizing. Annual Report, 2014. Available at: https://www.wiego.org/sites/default/files/publications/files/WIEGO-Annual-Report-2013-2014.pdf. Accessed 10 June 2020.
The Hindu. Street vendors struggle to stay afloat. The Hindu, sec. Bengaluru. 2020. Available at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/street-vendors-struggle-to-stay-afloat/article31387525.ece. Accessed 10 June 2020.
Devereux S, Béné C, Hoddinott J. Conceptualising COVID-19’s impacts on household food security. Food Security. 2020;12(4):769-72.
SEWA. SEWA: Impact of Coronavirus on the informal economy, 2020. Available at: https://www.wiego.org/sites/default/files/resources/file/SEWA-Delhi-Covid-19-Impact.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2020.
Sundararaman T. Health systems preparedness for COVID-19 pandemic. Indian J public Health. 2020;64(6):91.
The Economic Times. Lockdown 4.0 guidelines: Nationwide lockdown extended till May 31, with considerable relaxations. The Economic Times, 2020. Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/centre-extends-nationwide-lockdown-till-may-31-with-considerable-relaxations/articleshow/75790821.cms. Accessed 8 June 2020.
Bhowmik SK. Street vendors in Asia: A review. Economic and political weekly. 2005;2256-64.
Saha D. Working life of street vendors in Mumbai. Indian J Labour Economics. 2011;54(2):301-25.
Husain S, Yasmin S, Islam MS. Assessment of the socioeconomic aspects of street vendors in Dhaka city: Evidence from Bangladesh. Asian Social Sci. 2015;11(26):1.
Honey-Rosés J, Anguelovski I, Chireh VK, Daher C, Van den Bosch C, Litt JS et al. The impact of COVID-19 on public space: an early review of the emerging questions-design, perceptions and inequities. Cities Health. 2020;1-7.
Arsene MB, Lebon HM, Maurice KN, Benjamin MB, Faustin BM, Jean-Hélène KK. Understanding the Roles of Street Vendors of Agricultural Commodities during the COVID-19 Outbreak in the Informal Economy. Open J Social Sci. 2020;8(9):115-29.
Taylor M, Chandran R, Reuters Foundation T. Asia's street food hawkers struggle during coronavirus lockdowns. Reuters, 2020. Available at: https://in.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-asia/asias-street-food-hawkers-struggle-during-coronavirus-lockdowns-idUSL4N2BH2ZA. Accessed 10 June 2020.
Mitullah WV. Street vending in African cities: A synthesis of empirical finding from Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa. 2003;1-10.
Nirathron N. Fighting poverty from the street. A Survey of Street Food Vendors in Bangkok. 2006;10-59.
The Hindu. Coronavirus Package, Migrant Workers to Get Free Food grains, sec. Economy, 2020. Available at: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/second-tranche-of-economic-package-to-benefit-migrant-workers-small-farmers-nirmala-sitharaman/article31583468.ece. Accessed 10 June 2020.
Women in informal employment: Globalizing and organizing. Impact of public health measures on informal workers livelihoods and health, 2020. Available at: https://www.wiego.org/sites/default/files/resources/file/Impact_on_livelihoods_COVID-19_final_EN_1.pdf Accessed 9 September 2020.
International Labour Organization. World Employment Social Outlook, 2019. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_670542.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2020.
Government of India, 2020. Available at: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1628325. Accessed 11 June 2020.
Chen MA, Beard VA. Supporting Informal Workers for More Equal and Productive Cities in the Global South. Working Paper. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. 2018. Available at: https://wriorg.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs‐public/towards‐more‐equal‐city‐including‐the‐excluded_2.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2020.
Government of India. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. Gazette of India, GOI. Available at: http://mohua.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/StreetVendorAct2014_English(1).pdf. Accessed 11 June 2020.
Women in informal employment: Globalizing and organizing. Street vendors and public Space: An interactive e-book, 2020. Available at: https://www.wiego.org/sites/default/files/resources/file/Street%20Vendors%20and%20Public%20Space%20-%20An%20EBook.pdf. Accessed 10 June 2020.
Ray CN, Mishra A. Vendors and Informal Sector, 2011. Available at: https://cept.ac.in/UserFiles/File/CUE/Working%20Papers/Revised%20New/15CUEWP15_Vendors%20and%20Informal%20Sector%20-%20A%20Case-Study%20of%20Street%20Vendors%20of%20Surat%20City.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2020.