The ongoing lockdown measures and social distancing norms have hardly hit the informal sectors of the economies and the workers employed in the sector are bearing the brunt of it. The unemployment rate is at an all-time high because of the shut down of industrial operations and a standstill in many business activities across different sectors causing the economy to suffer enormous losses. The Covid-19 lockdown and containment measures threaten to increase relative poverty levels among the world's informal-economy workers by as much as 56 percentage points in low-income countries, according to a new report issued by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The relatively poverty levels are expected to increase by 52 percentage points in high income countries while upper middle income countries may witness an increase by 21 percentage points. 2 billion are working in informal sector across the world out of which 1.6 billion are exposed to the vulnerabilities because of the hardships they are going through amid the lockdown.
The Covid-19 crisis is exacerbating already existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, said Philippe Marcadent, Chief of the ILO's INWORK branch. "Policy responses must ensure that support reaches the workers and enterprises who need it most." Informal economy workers significantly impacted by lockdown varies from 89 per cent in Latin America and the Arab States to 83 per cent in Africa, 73 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, and 64 per cent in Europe and Central Asia.
According to ILO, a proper multi- track approach has to be adopted to tackle the situation and to ensure that the benefits are reaching to the ones who require them the most. There is an urgent need of effective policies which ensure that the informal workers are getting adequate protection from the disease and those who are infected, have proper access to health care and other facilities. The schemes should ensure sufficient availability of food grains and other necessities with the vulnerabilities.