We launched phone surveys at 20 bases in Patna and Bangalore in August, selected to reflect the diversity of living conditions in the slums. With a grant from the International Growth Center, we are conducting phone interviews with three key respondents in each settlement, including neighborhood leaders and other well-informed individuals, including at least one woman. We have been studying these and other bases for years. We ask each respondent about their surroundings, in general, and their own home conditions. These paths of discovery and triangle revealed a wide variety of local conditions. Here we find out.
Illness is under control in Patna slums: In the past month, not a single death of Kovid (or for some unknown reason) has been reported from its 20 selected slums; Because of Kovid, no one was sick in the hospital or at home.
Localized concentrations of disease persist in Bangalore: Most of the slums in Bangalore are similar to Patna — no deaths and no cases of illness due to Kovid. However, in the special pocket of the bases in Bangalore, the illness is of great concern. According to the last two fortunes and the present, it is estimated that more than 15% of the families living in MV Gardens, Mominpura and Siddhartha Nagar have members suffering from this disease, many of whom are hospitalized. Pinpoint is more effective than blanket responses in this situation.
Wearing a mask is common: In the slums of both cities, more than 80% of residents wear masks in public. Luxurious social distance in a narrow quarter is almost non-existent.
There are conflicting living conditions, growth in Bangalore and helplessness in Patna: most slum women and men work for labor. The average slum household has 4.4 members in Bangalore and 6.4 members in Patna and 1.9 and 1.7 earning members respectively.
Even before the epidemic, the average slum family in Bangalore was better off than the house in Patna. More than the average monthly income of a slum home ₹23,000 in Bangalore and only ₹17,000 in Patna.
Very few families in the slums of both cities earned an income in the first two or three months of the epidemic. The majority, including manual workers, maids and construction workers, are likely to continue their income. The few chief informants in the Patna slums who earned income during this period were as follows (with monthly income in brackets): Anganwadi Sevika ( ₹5,500), sanitation worker ( ₹7,200), Sump Station Worker ( ₹9,000), Lecturer ( ₹45,000); Three local shopkeepers ( ₹5,000, ₹8,000, ₹12,000) and Dairy Operator ( ₹30,000). In Bangalore, the few self-reporting positions that are being paid in the first three months include: Product Surveyor for ITC ( ₹15,000), Paytm’s Sales Executive ( ₹22,000), and executive at Bajaj Finserv ( ₹20,000). The nature of the range and locations are different in the two cities.
The slum dwellers of Patna are struggling financially. By mid-September, they had recovered only half of their previous income, with more than two-thirds of the Bangalore slums recovering. More than 80% of people in Bangalore are going back to their old jobs, while only 30% are in Patna.
The main challenge faced by more than 90% of the people in the slums of Patna is classified as a four-person house in a slum called Chitkohra Pul Ke Niche or Jagjivan Nagar. Father is a gardener ( ₹8,000), and one of the sons worked as a dance teacher ( ₹10,000). Both have not seen revenue since April. They sold two goats, reduced food and other necessities, and negotiated a loan from a neighbor at a rate of 5% per month, usually at an interest rate.
Decreasing aid: In the early part of the epidemic, most slums in Bangalore reported receiving subsidized food rations from the government or political parties; Half of them also got gas cylinders. Informal social networks and local leaders are more likely to seek help from neighborhoods that are not in great need or have the highest disease incidence. Despite the difficult conditions of the people, especially in Patna, there is no help at present. Women’s associations played important roles in both cities, arranging cash and essential items and resolving disputes.
Hopes are low in Patna: The long and severe lockdown in Patna has been accompanied by the incidence of disease and significant financial difficulties. Due to the hardships they faced, a high percentage of people in the slums of Patna expect three months, or even six months, to be worse than before the epidemic from now on. The corresponding share in Bangalore is less than 10%.
Accelerating the pace of job recovery in Patna is urgently needed. Experience needs to change to revive hope.
Sujeet Kumar and Anirudh Krishna contributed to this column.
Harlon Downs-Tepper and Emily Raines are PhD students at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.