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.

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The Hindu, 19 March, 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-pandemic-may-have-doubled-poverty-in-india-says-pew-study/article34110732.ece?homepage=true


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