About 79 percent marginalised households experienced financial hardship due to the Covid-19 situation, a study says.
The study, tilted "Marginalised Communities in Bangladesh Dealing with Pandemic Fallouts: Findings from a Household Survey", by Citizen's Platform for SDGs was revealed through a virtual programme today.
The study defines the financial hardship as "current income is not sufficient to manage current expenditure".
While presenting the study, East West University's economics teacher Estiaque Bari, one of the researchers, said that as a coping strategy to mitigate impact of Covid-19 fallout, 80.6 percent households cut down on food expenses and 64.5 percent cut down on non-food expenses.
Of the families who cut down on food expenses, 47.2 percent reduced number of protein items, 37.7 percent reduced number of items in a meal, 6.8 percent reduced number of meals and 9.8 percent compromised on baby food.
The study said that 20.8 percent households withdrew their savings and on average they withdrew Tk 34,462. It also said that 47.9 percent took loan and on average they took loan of Tk 52,533 and they will need 2 years and 1 month to repay principal loan amount at current rate of household savings.
At least one member lost job or had to shut down business from 70 percent marginalised households.
Estiaque also said that at least one member from 68 percent of households rejoined work. "But after rejoining work, their income did not reach the previous level," he added.
Citizen's Platform for SDGs carried out the study on 1,600 households of 10 marginalised groups including those from char, haor, coastal and slum areas as well as dalits, indigenous, persons with disabilities, migrant, micro and small and medium enterprises.
The information was collected through face-to-face survey in February.
"The new surge of Covid-19 and subsequent restrictions as policy response are likely to pose new challenges for recovery of the marginalised groups," the study said.
Convener of Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Debapriya Bhattacharya and core group member of the Citizen's Platform for SDGs and CPD Distinguished Fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman, also spoke at the programme.