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World

COVID crisis pushed 75 million Indians into poverty in 2020

  • The number of Indians living below the poverty line is expected to reach 134 million, which is more than double the 59 million projected prior to the recession
  • The poverty rate in India rose to 9.7 percent in 2020, a sharp increase from the January 2020 forecast of 4.3 percent
Published May 5, 2021

(Karachi) The recent coronavirus pandemic-led recession in India pushed some 75 million people into poverty in 2020, shrinking the country’s middle-class population by 32 million, a report by Pew Research Centre has transpired.

The research highlighted that prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, it was anticipated that 99 million people in India would belong to the global middle class. However, after the pandemic, the number decreased to 66 million.

Similarly, the number of Indians living below the poverty line is expected to reach 134 million, which is more than double the 59 million projected prior to the recession. The report stated that the poverty rate in India rose to 9.7 percent in 2020, a sharp increase from the January 2020 forecast of 4.3 percent.

Besides, over 122 million people were rendered jobless due to the lockdown, with daily wagers, laborers, and small traders accounting for over 91 million of the jobs lost within April 2020. In May 2020, India’s unemployment rate, already at a six-decade high, rose to 27.1 percent.

The COVID-19 outbreak situation in India continues to worsen as millions of infections and deaths are reported daily, with oxygen for ventilators running scarce.

The second wave of coronavirus in India, which began on February 11, claimed the lives of millions of people. The Narendra Modi-led government has faced criticism and growing pressure for its failure to control the spread of the deadly disease.

The people, overwhelmed by the situation in hospitals and morgues, called to impose a nationwide lockdown to stem the devastating coronavirus surge but the Indian government is reluctant to take the step for fear of the economic fallout.

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