This report on CSES study was published in The New Indian Express on 19.05.2020
Ration cards, once considered just as a document for identification, has assumed significance during the nationwide Covid lockdown.
Ration cards, once considered just as a document for identification, has assumed significance during the nationwide Covid lockdown. An online survey, carried out among Malayali consumers, has revealed that a majority of respondents has made use of the card to buy essential items during the lockdown. The survey was carried out by Kochi-based Centre for Socio-economic and Environmental Studies (CSES). It was conducted between April 28 and May 6. Of the 504 persons polled, 12 per cent belonged to priority category holding yellow and pink ration cards, 22 per cent belonged to state subsidy category holding blue ration cards and 56 per cent to non-priority category holding white ration cards. Rest (10 per cent) did not have ration cards.
“Among the respondents, 61 per cent said their income got reduced during the lockdown period. While, among the priority card holding households, 97 per cent suffered an income reduction, only less than half of the households (49 per cent) faced the situation among the non-priority cardholders. However, a large majority of respondents (92 per cent) said they will have to reduce the day-to-day expenses due to the continuing lockdown,” the survey report stated.
The survey found out that 92 per cent of the households with ration cards has bought essential items from the public distribution system during the lockdown. Around 16 per cent purchased ration for the first time or after a long period. “Almost all the (98 per cent) priority cardholders (yellow and pink), 91 per cent of the state subsidy cardholders (blue) and 85 per cent of the non- priority cardholders (white) have bought from ration shops during the lockdown. It is notable that, among the non-priority cards holding households, 21 per cent bought ration for the first time or after a long gap,” the report revealed.
Similarly, the smaller grocery shops helped public during the lockdown. In the pre-lockdown times, 38 per cent of the respondents used to purchase grocery items from supermarkets or shopping malls. However, during the shutdown, such purchases dwindled to 20 per cent. Just 5 per cent of the respondents depend on the online/home delivery facilities.
“Given the stagnation of economic activities including the primary sector and the resulting job and income losses, the Covid-19 situation has an impact on the future consumption pattern of Malayalis. Especially, as pointed out in the study, if the people reduce their consumption, the economy will be pushed into a deeper crisis,” the report said.