Campus Spotlight : Economy before Health – IIM Lucknow study public sentiments during lockdown

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Across the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered intense uncertainties and global health anxiety. Alongside the health crisis comes the economic worries, as millions have lost their jobs and the economy is said to suffer a major recession. Rising malnutrition is also an expected concern as many children rely on school meals for a dependable source of daily nutrition, and now have to look for other sources.

A study conducted by IIM Lucknow to understand the public sentiment during lockdown reveals that a majority of 79% of respondents are worried about the economic crisis more than the health concerns emanated from coronavirus. And is surrounded by the feeling of fear (40%) and sadness (22%), even though they are confident that India will curb the pandemic. The study was conducted across 23 states, 104 tier 1 and 2 cities, covering 931 Indians using snowball sampling by the Centre of Marketing in Emerging Economies (CMEE) at IIM Lucknow in association with Qualisys research & consulting and Mohankrishnan, Former VP of Kantar.

The largest worry related to the economic impact of lockdown and coronavirus was that how long will this situation of uncertainties persist (16%), fear of others behaving irresponsibly thus amplifying the health risks (15%), and getting infected was not the actual worry for only 14% of the people. 

After the fear, the dominant opinion among the people is noted to be sadness. However, 3 out of 5 respondents expressed confidence with the government’s measures of declaring lockdowns in phases. The confidence showed an increase from 57% to 63% by the 2nd phase of lockdown as health infrastructure improved, protocols were set, PPE kits, masks were available. The other major factors that boosted this increase in confidence were social distancing and contact tracing (70%).

About 29% of the respondents felt good about people cooperating and adhering to required rules and social norms, 26% expressed satisfaction with a lower number of cases, and 19% appreciated the strong leadership shown by the authorities.

This study was conducted online in English across various social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, etc, and covered the lockdown period from March 25th to May 3. According to the researchers, the respondents represented a skewed gender ratio of 62% men and 38% women. Besides, the population surveyed comprised of privileged Indians with 63% holding post-graduation or equivalent degrees, and 40% of participants belonging to an upper-income category with 10 lacs annual income and above.