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Pandemic pushed over 3 crore Indians out of middle class: Pew Research



19 Mar 2021

Almost a year into the pandemic, the strength of India’s middle class has shrunk to 6.6 crores, down a third from a pre-pandemic estimate of 9.9 crores. Moreover, the number of poor people in the country went up by 7.5 crores. Here is all you need to know:

A recent research report has revealed that the novel coronavirus pandemic last year pushed approximately 3.2 crore Indians out of the middle class.

The report prepared by the US-based Pew Research Center showed that the number of Indians in the middle class — those who earn between $10 (Rs 724) to $20 (Rs 1,449) per day — shrunk by roughly 3.2 crores.

It also revealed that a high rate of job losses had pushed millions into poverty in India.

Almost a year into the pandemic, the strength of India’s middle class has shrunk to 6.6 crores, down a third from a pre-pandemic estimate of 9.9 crores, added the report.

Citing the World Bank’s forecasts of economic growth, the Pew Research Center 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.”

The report added that nearly 5.7 core people had joiner the middle income group in India between 2011 and 2019.

In January 2020, the World Bank forecast almost the same level of economic growth for India and China at 5.8 per cent and 5.9 per cent, respectively. However, the World Bank has sharply revised its forecast in January 2021 — 9.6 per cent contraction for India and growth of 2 per cent for China.

During the peak of the pandemic, India’s share of poor people also increased sharply. The Pew Center estimated the number of poor people — with incomes of $2 or less per day — went up by 7.5 crores.

The research report also indicated that a rise 10 per cent rise in domestic fuel prices this year, continued job losses and salary cuts have further impact millions of households in the country.