Round 1 - Emerging Patterns

Updated: Jul 6

Below is a snapshot of emerging patterns for issue-domains and clusters of blocks across 9 states. Details of clusters are given in the Appendix.

Domain-wise Observations

1. There is considerable variation when it comes to 'Access to Healthcare', including within a state (for instance, Chhattisgarh). The unevenness in access to healthcare, especially for the vast majority of non-Covid needs, is an urgent matter for policy response.

2. Similarly, there is considerable variation in Financial liquidity (access to cash and credit), including within a state (for instance, Jharkhand). Since cash and credit are critical for accessing basic essentials, unevenness in access is of great concern.

3. The situation of returned migrants is precarious. This creates a multiplier effect since they have many dependents; the psychological and social implications are also heavy. There is also considerable variation across clusters.

4. There is extremely widespread income loss for vulnerable groups. This is of utmost concern; it will also greatly adversely affect access to basic essentials in the short and medium term.

5. The absolute number of NREGA work-days is still low (less than three days per week) and there is considerable variation across clusters.

6. Worrying incidence of social discrimination across states; there is considerable variation across clusters, both within states (eg, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and across states.

State-wise Observations

The Table below shows the clusters of blocks (across the surveyed clusters) in each state that need more attention. This would be useful for Agencies engaged in relief work in these regions.

The following charts present averages for each cluster, by domain.

(Please note: in the following charts, different colours (for bars) are used to represent different states, these colours do not have any other significance.)

I. Access to Food and Water

The chart below gives the average availability and access to water and food.The food category includes access to the subsidized Public Distribution System (PDS) for food grains & cooking oil and also private distributors. It also explicitly looks at special distribution facilities for those who are food-insecure.

II. Access to Healthcare Facilities

The healthcare category includes not only Covid19-related facilities but also general healthcare operations (health centres, functioning of and ASHA and ANM workers) which may be adversely affected due to focus on Covid19.

III. Access to Cash and Credit

This category is important because households have many essential needs besides food & water and healthcare. These needs vary considerably across individuals and typically can be fulfilled through liquidity (cash or other financial means). Therefore this category proxies essential needs (partly also overlapping with food & water and healthcare). Liquidity is measured through ability to withdraw cash from own account and access to credit & government cash benefits.

IV. Migration

We explore the situation of out-migrants, returned migrants and in-migrants (from the perspective of a block or cluster). For out-migrants we focus on ability to return; for returned migrants the focus is on food and income source; for in-migrants the focus is food, shelter and income source. The graph below is for returning migrants.

V. Livelihood

We focus on income loss for four broad livelihoods categories for vulnerable groups: marginal farmers and labour in agriculture; labour outside the agriculture sector; craft workers; and workers in the informal service sector & those operating precarious micro-businesses.

We also separately explore access to work through NREGA, the government’s flagship employment guarantee scheme (comparing present situation with the pre-Covid situation and also gauging excess demand).

V. Social Discrimination

Economic distress and restraints on mobility can impact security, social relations and well-being. We explore the following issues: social situation of migrants, healthcare workers & suspected / actual Covid patients; religion-based tensions; other forms of conflict triggered by the distress situation, including the role of ‘fake news’.


In Round 1, I-CARD covered 204 blocks across 9 states. The blocks are grouped into 22 clusters based on geographical location, contiguity and development history focusing on the presence of vulnerable groups and significant rural population.[1]

The following are the block clusters (by corresponding districts and States).

[1] ‘Vulnerable groups’ refer to the most economically distressed groups in the block. For more details, refer: https://www.i-card.org/dashboard


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