India imposed a lock-down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and began a gradual re-opening in June. A telephonic survey in April examined the early effectiveness of information and the massive PMGKY social protection program (Policy Paper 217). This paper analyzes a second-round survey, conducted six months later. Logistical and information constraints had relaxed, and incomes and jobs had begun to stabilize for some. There were not strong indications of differential access to benefits by income or location, but constraints to providing public employment had tightened in the face of increased demand, resulting in greater job rationing. Men made more use of digital channels, with a clear smartphone ownership hierarchy between men and women; this divide carried over into the growing autonomous use of digital payments which is conditioned on access to smartphones. Survey results confirm strong local agglomeration effects in digital payments, mirroring the general pattern with higher use in states hosting India’s major technology hubs. At the same time, trust-based concerns reduced the use of assisted digital cash-outs through agents.

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