The strict and sudden lockdown imposed by the Government of India in the third week of March 2020 to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, made visible the inadequacy and fragility of the Indian education system and urban social protection systems. Schools and higher education institutions across the country were closed and all economic activity in cities and towns came to a grinding halt. As a result, students across the span of education and millions of workers engaged in informal work in Indian cities were severely impacted.
This research set out to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown on the education, livelihoods, and health of the most marginalized sections of Indian society. Three major sites were chosen for this investigation: In Delhi, we examined the impact of school closure; in Bengaluru, we assessed the impact of the closure of higher education institutions; and in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) we examined how the loss of income impacted the lives of informal workers. This investigation also provided insight into the physical and mental health condition of the studied demographic and the various state and non-state relief measures that were offered in response to the health crisis. Individual interviews were conducted online and offline with different stakeholders; online panel discussions were held with various organisations providing relief; and secondary data was collated from various reports, case studies and government documents.
The main findings have also been summarised in this visualisation.