Policy Briefs & Reports

A Crisis of Hunger: a ground report on the repercussions of COVID-19 related lockdown on Delhi’s vulnerable populations

Ashwin Parulkar, Mukta Naik

Centre for Policy Research

March 27, 2020

The lock-down in response to COVID-19 has created an unprecedented food crisis in Delhi. While monthly-wage earning households may have a few days food supply on hand, daily wage labourers – now without work – have no income and, therefore, no ability to buy food. Even those with means to buy food face local access barriers because vendors and street markets are no longer operational.

The Delhi government recently announced relief measures for such vulnerable people. But we find these have serious lacuna that must be identified and addressed to respond to the unfolding crisis of hunger at hand. This report draws on conversations with civil society organisations with deep networks on ground to highlight key issues and possible solutions.

We discuss three key Delhi government announcements: the deployment of homeless shelters for provision of food, the use of the construction workers cess for direct benefit transfers, and the increase in PDS allocations. Additionally, we draw attention to measures under the ICDS and on the specific and acute distress among residents of violence affected north-east Delhi. Last, we discuss the plight of migrants trapped inside Delhi who want to return home.