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India’s huge economic setbacks in 2020: why millions have fallen into poverty

A new Pew Report details the shocking statistics of India’s financial crisis

India’s huge economic setbacks in 2020: why millions have fallen into poverty

A new Pew Report details the shocking statistics of India’s financial crisis

India’s huge economic setbacks in 2020: why millions have fallen into poverty

A new Pew Report details the shocking statistics of India’s financial crisis

India’s huge economic setbacks in 2020: why millions have fallen into poverty

A new Pew Report details the shocking statistics of India’s financial crisis

India’s losses in 2020 accounts for 60% of the global increase in poverty.

No country in the world has remained completely unscathed from the coronavirus pandemic, but few have suffered more than India, according to the latest report by the Pew Research Center.

In 2020, 75 million people in India – most of whom were already living on low incomes – were pushed into poverty, bringing the total of Indian poor to 134 million (9.7% of the population). That accounts for 60% of the increase in poverty around the world last year.

The pandemic changed everything: predictions at the beginning of 2020 suggested that the number of people living in poverty would continue to fall, as it had in previous years, going down to 59 million, or 4.3% of the population.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by statistics. In human terms, “poverty” means having less than US $2, or ₹150, to live on every day. It means waking up every day wondering if your children will have to go hungry again. It means constant uncertainty: not knowing when you might be forced to find another place to live, not knowing if you’ll manage to find any work this week, not knowing when you’ll be able access to a power supply or clean water. It means living with a sense of powerlessness, knowing that you can’t afford to get your children the basics they need for school, that you don’t have any savings put by in case your parents need medical care - that however hard you work, there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. It means seeing people pass you in the street as if you’re invisible.

Nearly 10% of the Indian population are living like this today – half of them pushed into such extreme circumstances as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions who were just managing to get by are now destitute.

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