Covid-19: Pushed millions into Poverty

Two-thirds of people in India live in poverty: 68.8% of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. Over 30% even have less than $1.25 per day available - they are considered extremely poor. This makes the Indian subcontinent one of the poorest countries in the world; women and children, the weakest members of Indian society, suffer most.

India is the second most populous country after China with about 1.2 billion people and is the seventh largest country in the world with an area of ​​3,287,000 km². The highly contrasted country has enjoyed growth rates of up to 10% over many years and is one of the largest economies in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of 1,644 billion US dollars. But only a small percentage of the Indian population has benefited from this impressive economic boom so far, as the majority of people in India are still living in abject poverty and  Covid pandemic made it worst 

The 2020 pandemic brought with it huge financial challenges and pushed approx. 32 million Indians out of the middle class, the US-based Pew Research Centre said on Friday. The job losses due to lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pushed millions into poverty.

The number of Indians in the middle class, or those earning between $10 and $20 (Rs700- Rs1,400) a day, shrunk by about 32 million, compared with the number that could have been reached in the absence of a pandemic, the report stated.

A year into the pandemic, the numbers of those in the middle class has shrunk to 66 million, down a third from a pre-pandemic estimate of 99 million, it added.

Quoting the World Bank's forecasts of economic growth, the Pew Research Centre said, "India is estimated to have seen a greater decrease in the middle class and a much sharper rise in poverty than China in the COVID-19 downturn."

Between 2011 and 2019, the living standard of nearly 57 million people had improved and they had joined the middle income group , the report further added. he same level of economic growth for India and China, at 5.8 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively, in 2020. But after a year into the COVID epidemic, the World Bank issued revised forecast this January stating contraction of 9.6 per cent for India and growth of 2 per cent for China.

In China, however, the fall in living standards was modest as numbers in the middle-income category probably decreased by 10 million, while poverty levels remained unchanged, the report added.

The Pew Centre has evaluated the number of poor people, with incomes of $2 or less each day (around Rs145), has gone up by 75 million as the recession brought by the virus has severely affected the years of progress.

A nearly 10% increase in fuel prices, unemployment, job losses, and salary cuts along with other pandemic induced financial issues have created serious problems for many Indian households, forcing many people to see jobs overseas.

At present, India is facing a second wave of infections in some states, after a decline in cases until early this year, and its tally of 11.47 million is the highest after the United States and Brazil, in spite of the vaccination drive that has fully inoculated approx. 6.91 million people.

Reacting on this report several netizens expressed their anger and disappointment and called it the failure and mismanagement of the current government. 




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