Due to the financial constraints induced by the coronavirus pandemic, around 32 million middle-class Indians were pushed towards the low-income group section in 2020, according to a report by the US-based Pew Research Centre.
This number accounts for 60% of the global retreat in the number of people in the middle-income tier whose income is $10-20$ (₹700-₹1,400) a day.
Because of the COVID-19 recession, the total number of poor people in India is estimated to have increased by 75 million with an income of $2 or less (₹150 or less) a day, which accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty, said the report.
"Prior to the pandemic, in 2020, 99 million people were anticipated to belong in the global middle class but after a year into the pandemic, this number is cut by a third and estimated to have been 66 million," the report said.
The research centre reported, "In 2020, most people in India were in the global low-income tier. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 1.20 billion people in India were expected to be in this tier accounting for 30% of the world's low-income population. It is projected to have dropped to 1.16 billion because of coronavirus pandemic which pushed more people into poverty."
Giving data on the number of poor people in India, the report stated that the total number of poor people in India is projected to have reached 134 million, which is more than double the 59 million which was expected prior to the recession.
According to the published report, earlier in January 2020, it was forecasted that the poverty rate in India will be at 4.3% which rose to 9.7% in the year 2020.
The report also said that in January 2020, India's real gross domestic product (GDP) was forecasted at 5.8% by the World Bank which came down to -9.6% in January 2021, in the revised growth rate which led India in deep recession.
However, in China, according to the report, the fall in living standards was modest as numbers in the middle-income category probably decreased by 10 million, while poverty levels remained unchanged.