In-house seminar on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Low-income Households in Sri Lanka: Results from a Rapid Household by Survey’ by Lakshila Wanigasinghe

28 April 2022

The ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Low-income Households in Sri Lanka: Results from a Rapid Household Survey’ was the subject of IPS’ in-house seminar in April presented by Research Officer, Lakshila Wanigasinghe. Lakshila highlighted the effects of the pandemic on households using data from a rapid household survey conducted by IPS, the effectiveness of the government’s social protection responses to COVID-19, and the policy gaps.

In terms of employment, the majority of the survey respondents experienced an adverse impact in both the first and second waves of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. As a result of this impact, household income levels also decreased, with more households falling into the lowest income group (earning less than LKR 25,000 a month) compared to the pre-pandemic period. This, in turn, led to households adopting various mechanisms to cope with income losses such as reducing the expenditure on food and non-food consumption.

The government implemented two prominent social protection measures in both waves: LKR 5,000 cash transfers and the distribution of dry ration packs to the most vulnerable. Most respondents found these measures extremely helpful but gaps such as insufficient support, inequality of payments, and delays in payments were identified.

Lakshila highlighted the need to swiftly identify the most vulnerable groups in times of crisis, establish clearly defined eligibility criteria, leverage technology, improve coverage under existing social protection systems, and increase social protection benefits to low-income households and vulnerable groups for enhanced social protection in Sri Lanka.

Download presentation HERE.