1.4m expats returned home amid corona crisis: Survey

Staff Correspondent

2 June, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The income of nearly 74 per cent families has declined while more than 1.4 million expatriates lost their jobs and returned home amid the corona crisis, finds a new study.

The pandemic has severely affected the low-income population while some 100.22 million people are exposed to economic and health risks, it said.

Brac, DataSense and Unnaya Samannay jointly conducted the survey called: ‘Covid-19 and national budget 2020-2021: rethinking strategy for low-income people’. The report was unveiled on Monday.

The survey results showed that 53.64 million people among those exposed to economic and health risks are extreme poor whose daily income is $1.9.

This figure also includes those who have newly entered the poverty bracket after the pandemic.

The number of extreme poor people at high economic risk is 47.33 million and that of people with high health risk is 36.33 million, finds the survey.

It also showed that Covid-19 has multidimensional impacts on low-income people. At least one member out of 34.8 per cent families under the survey has lost jobs.

Average family income has declined by nearly 74 per cent during March and May period with informal workers including day labourers and production sector suffering most.

For instance, the readymade garment sector witnessed 84 per cent slump in exports in the month of April compared to that of April in 2019.

From mid of March to April 07, 1,116 RMG factories were shut down and some 2.2 million garment workers lost jobs.

The survey came up with a new finding that Corona has created a new economic, social and digital divide.

According to statistics, only 34 per cent families have smartphones and 54 per cent families have access to television, which means the families outside these facilities are being deprived of education provided on digital media.

Speaking on the occasion, Brac Chairperson Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman observed that the Tk 100 stipend provided to 7.8 million primary students should be increased to Tk 500 at once without preparing new list of beneficiaries.