New Delhi: A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that the middle class in India is estimated to have shrunk by 32 million in 2020 as a consequence of the economic downturn, compared with the number it may have reached absent the Covid pandemic.
This accounts for 60 per cent of the global retreat in the number of people in the middle-income tier defined here as people with incomes of $10.01-$20 a 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 75 million because of the Covid-19 recession. This, too, accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the global increase in poverty.
Perhaps not surprisingly, media reports in India point to a spike in participation in its rural employment programme - originally intended to combat poverty in agricultural areas - as the many who have lost jobs in the reeling economy seek work. The number now participating is setting record highs in the programme's 14-year history, Pew Research said.
Prior to the pandemic, it was anticipated that 99 million people in India would belong in the global middle class in 2020. A year into the pandemic, this number is estimated to be have been 66 million, cut by a third. Meanwhile, the number of poor in India is projected to have reached 134 million, more than double the 59.
Meanwhile, the number of poor in India is projected to have reached 134 million, more than double the 59 million expected prior to the recession.