Tue, 26 May 2020

Geneva [Switzerland], Apr 8 (ANI): With 90 per cent of people working in India's informal economy, about 400 million workers are at risk of falling deeper into poverty during the coronavirus crisis, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.

Current lockdown measures in India, which are at the high end of University of Oxford's COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index, have impacted these workers significantly, forcing many of them to return to rural areas, according to ILO Monitor 2nd edition: COVID-19 and the world of work.

"It is the worst global crisis since the Second World War. Worldwide, two billion people work in the informal sector (mostly in emerging and developing economies) and are particularly at risk," said ILO.

"Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe in both developed and developing economies. We have to move fast, decisively and together. The right, urgent, measures, could make the difference between survival and collapse," said ILO's Director-General Guy Ryder.

The ILO report said COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 -- equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.

Large reductions are foreseen in the Arab states (8.1 per cent, equivalent to 5 million full-time workers), Europe (7.8 per cent, or 12 million full-time workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 per cent, 125 million full-time workers).

Huge losses are expected across different income groups but especially in upper-middle-income countries (7 per cent, 100 million full-time workers). This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

The sectors most at risk include accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities.

More than four out of five people (81 per cent) in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently affected by full or partial workplace closures. The eventual increase in global unemployment during 2020 will depend substantially on future developments and policy measures, said the ILO report.

"This is the greatest test for international cooperation in more than 75 years," said Ryder. "If one country fails, then we all fail. We must find solutions that help all segments of our global society, particularly those that are most vulnerable or least able to help themselves.""The choices we make today will directly affect the way this crisis unfolds and so the lives of billions of people," he added.

"With the right measures we can limit its impact and the scars it leaves. We must aim to build back better so that our new systems are safer, fairer and more sustainable than those that allowed this crisis to happen."(ANI)

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