11th May, 2021
Urban economic activities are being severely affected by the lockdown implemented due to Corona infection, but the rural area is also not untouched by it. The second wave of infection of Covid-19 is also spreading rapidly in rural areas, increasing the risk of deteriorating economic health of these areas. Although the economy of rural areas is considered to be agro-based, more than that is heavily dependent on non-agricultural resources.
Havoc of the second wave of Covid-19 is more visible in the villages. There is a tremendous atmosphere of fear in the rural areas due to famine deaths from it. This is directly impacting agriculture and other economic activities. In conventional farming, except for cereal crops like wheat and rice, the yield is not good. The market is not available for this because of the lockdown.
Hotels, restaurants, catering and sweets shops have been closed for a long time. Marriages and other events have been discontinued in urban areas as well as in rural areas. The demand for vegetables, local fruits, milk, and other produce has decreased drastically.
Offtake of dairy, vegetables and fruits affected, where did the money come from
In rural areas, the basis of livelihood of landless and small farmers is the cultivation of dairy and vegetables. In the second wave of Corona, the condition of such farmers has fallen. Milk consumption is only 40 percent in private, cooperative, and government companies of the organized sector. The remaining 60 percent of milk is sold at sweets, hotels and tea shops. The milk collection of many companies has also decreased. While there has been no decrease in milk production.
Ashwani Kumar, professor at the Tata Institute of Social Science, says that the rural infrastructure projects have come to a standstill due to the corona. This has hindered the flow of cash. Hardly 40 percent of the rural economy comes from agriculture, while the rest comes from non-agricultural operations. Ashwini says that this time the youth has not migrated to the villages, as it was last time. Their income is stagnant in cities, due to which it is not possible for them to send money to their family members.
Projects stalled in rural areas due to Corona
Nilaya Ranjan, an expert on the rural social economy, says that from April to June, the people of the village do not have any farming work. At the same time, the projects of rural infrastructure are suitable for their livelihood. But this time due to Corona, rural road, residential, irrigation projects, rural electrification, and water resources projects have almost come to a standstill. Only the raw work of MNREGA is being done in the villages. The raw material required for the rest of the projects is not being supplied.