The past few months have been exceptionally brutal for India’s economy. With GDP contracting by 23.9 percent from April to June, as many as 21 million salaried jobs are estimated to have been lost in the wake of the pandemic. The informal sector too has taken a beating, and some economists have noted that the number of unemployed does not even take into account millions of people who may have gone back to farming as jobs dried up in other industries. That has also meant a reverse migration from cities to villages in the wake of the sudden lockdown.What does that bode for rural economies, families, and especially the faceless women in India’s villages, who are far less literate (58 percent compared with 78 percent men); earn only 60 percent of male wages; constitute 42 percent of India’s agricultural workforce and are yet not counted as ‘agricultural workers’; denied access to government schemes and property rights; and are instead themselves considered the ‘property’ of their fathers, husbands or even sons?To understand the effect of lockdown on the ordinary village woman, I travelled by road to a village called Turehti in Pathankot district of Punjab. Represented by Bollywood actor Sunny Deol… Read full this story
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