Coronavirus: Pandemic may have doubled poverty in India, says Pew study

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published Published on Mar 19, 2021   modified Modified on Mar 19, 2021

-The Hindu

Pew Research report suggests middle class may have shrunk by 30% and number of poor risen by 7.5 crore

India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third due to 2020’s pandemic-driven recession, while the number of poor people — earning less than 150 per day — more than doubled, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. In a comparison, Chinese incomes remained relatively unshaken, with just a 2% drop in the middle class population, it found.

The report, released on Thursday, uses World Bank projections of economic growth to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on Indian incomes. The lockdown triggered by the pandemic resulted in shut businesses, lost jobs and falling incomes, plunging the Indian economy into a deep recession. China managed to avoid a contraction, although growth slowed, the report said.

“The middle class in India is estimated to have shrunk by 3.2 crore in 2020 as a consequence of the downturn, compared with the number it may have reached absent the pandemic,” said the report, defining the middle class as people with incomes of approximately 700-1,500 or $10-20 per day.

“Meanwhile, the number of people who are poor in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 7.5 crore because of the COVID-19 recession. This accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty,” the report added, estimating an increase from almost 6 crore to 13.4 crore poor people. It also noted the record spike in MGNREGA participants as proof that the poor were struggling to find work.

Please click here to read more.

Kindly click here to access the report by Pew Research Centre.

The Hindu, 19 March, 2021,

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