New Delhi: According to the recent analysis by Pew Research Centre, around 75 million more people in India fell into poverty last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, as the lockdown was triggered by the pandemic, it resulted in shut businesses, lost jobs and falling incomes, putting the Indian economy into a deep recession. The study also said that India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third, while the number of poor people — earning less than ₹150 per day doubled. Before the pandemic, it was anticipated that more than 99 million people would belong to the global middle class in 2020 but post-pandemic, this number is anticipated to 66 million, cut by a third as India plunged into its deepest recession in more than 40 years.
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The report that released on Thursday (March 18), used World Bank projections of economic growth to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on Indian incomes. To know more about the report outcomes, NDTV’s Vishnu Som speaks with Nobel laureate Dr Abhijeet Banerjee.
Commenting on the numbers and suspecting that there is much more bad news at the low end, Dr Abhijeet Banerjee said,
These numbers are on the basis of the fact that everyone’s income – rich, poor, very poor and so on grew at the same point. To me, this is not possible. Since everyone’s income didn’t grow at the same rate, the income of the rich seemed to have ballooned in the pandemic, whereas the income of the poor in our country may have fallen down even more. So, to me, it seems that there is worse news than this report is disclosing.
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Talking about the growth perspective Dr Abhijeet Banerjee said that growth in India will depend on what policies are followed. He added,
Recovery will be slow as we still don’t have the demand stimulus. The government has moved in this direction of recovery by focusing on demand, but I think there is still a shortage. Investment recovery has been slow.
Hoping that India can recover from this, Dr Abhijeet Banerjee added,
I think India is capable of growing fast, but we shouldn’t take growth rate as god’s gift. We were growing because things were working in our favour, if we take those things away, we won’t grow.
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India’s Coronavirus Numbers
The country has experienced one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks globally, it is currently the third worst-hit country after the United States of America and Brazil. The country recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058, the Union health ministry said on March 24.
The active caseload registered an increased for the 14th day in a row and was recorded at 3,68,457, comprising 3.14 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate further dropped to 95.49 per cent, as per the health ministry. The daily rise in infections was the highest recorded in 132 days, while the country’s COVID-19 deaths increased to 1,60,441, with 275 new fatalities, the highest in around 83 days.
Health Ministry also said that a new “double mutant variant” of the coronavirus has been detected in 18 states in the country in addition to many other strains or variants of concern (VOCs) which have also found abroad. Out of 10,787, the British variant has been reported in 736 samples in India. The South African strain of coronavirus has been detected in 34 people in the country and the Brazil variant has been seen in one sample, the government said.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.