India has been under one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world. We, as a country, acted early and might have weathered the health storm. It’s still too early to tell conclusively, but there are signs. From an economic perspective, things don’t look good.

While the disease could get worse, especially in the hot spots, the second and third order effects of the lockdown around the country and our response could be even more devastating. The problem is that these second order effects are a lot less visible, more long term, and yet, as gruesome.

  • Testing in India has been limited, but focused on those with the highest likelihood. Despite that, only 4% of all people tested have returned positive results. Versus 20% in the U.S. Versus 25% in the UK.
  • Over 300 people have died due to the lockdown in the last five weeks. Suicide due to stress and loneliness was the leading cause. Others include migrants journeying back, withdrawal symptoms, financial distress and starvation.
  • Almost 40% of all our workers are either casual, daily-wage labourers or household help. That’s almost 180 million workers. Over 80% of those workers earn less than Rs. 7,500 a month or ~$100 a month. That’s close to 18 crore people. State-wise, 98% of Casual Labourers living in Arunchal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh earn less than Rs 7,500 a month. 
  • Over 50% of all workers are in sectors that have been fully or partially closed down for the best part of the last two months, 93% if you exclude agriculture. And, the government is not doing enough yet.
  • There are 8 times more in-state migrants than out-of-state migrants. Over 37% (over 45 crores) of the Indian population are migrants – and that was as of 2011, the number is only higher now. But most of them, ~33% to be precise, traveled from within the state. Only about 4%-5% are out-of-state migrants. Our Union Territories have the highest out-of-state migrants, but outside of those, Haryana and Uttarakhand have the highest out-of-state migrants. Kerala and Telangana have the highest in-state migrants at around 50% of their State population. From an absolute perspective, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have the highest migrants.
  • We estimate that almost 80% of all households in India are at risk. 
  • There are 47 Micro, Small and Medium Enterproses (MSMEs) per 1,000 people in India employing ~11 crore people (~24% of all workers) contributing to ~28% of India’s GDPWest Bengal has the highest number of MSMEs per 1,000 people at 90 which is almost twice the national average. MSMEs have pretty much shutdown across the nation and there is little government relief being provided to them..

The economic stability of our nation is at risk. Poverty will increase and suddenly, consequential, mass civil unrest doesn’t seem impossible.

Keeping this in mind, we have calculated an Economic Vulnerability Score for each state in India bringing together 18 different key indicators. Heads up, we are looking at this from a purely economic perspective, not a health perspective. 

We are not trying to downplay the health side of things, we are just not epidemiologists; economics makes a lot more sense to us and also deserves attention.

Toggle through states and analyze the indicators for yourself below.

If you spot something that we didn’t – good, bad, a mistake – let us know.