India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third after pandemic, Pew study finds
Daily NEWS Summary | 19-03-2021; India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third due to the 2020 pandemic recession, while the number of poor people, earning less than 150 rupees a day, more than doubled, according to Pew analysis Research Center. In a comparison, Chinese incomes were relatively stable, with only a 2% drop in the middle-class population, he found.
- The report, released on Thursday, uses the World Bank’s economic growth projections to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on India’s income.
- Shutdown caused by the pandemic has resulted in business closings, job losses and declining incomes, plunging the Indian economy into a deep recession.
- On the other hand, China has managed to avoid a contraction, although growth has slowed, according to the report.
- The middle class in India is estimated to have shrunk by Rs 3.2 crore in 2020 due to the recession, compared to the number it could have reached without the pandemic, says the report, which defines the middle class as people with income. around ₹ 700-1500 or $ 10-20 per day.
- Meanwhile, the number of poor people in India (earning $ 2 or less per day) is estimated to have increased by Rs 7.5 crore due to the COVID-19 recession.
- This represents almost 60% of the global increase in poverty, adds the report, which estimates an increase of nearly 6 million rupees to 13.4 million rupees for the poor.
- Further report pointed to the record increase in the number of MGNREGA participants as proof that the poor were struggling to find work.
- The vast majority of the Indian population is low income earning between 150 and 700 rupees per day. Pew’s projections suggest that this group has grown from 119.7 million rupees to 116.2 million rupees per day, with around 3.5 million rupees below the poverty line.
- The middle-income group is likely to have fallen from nearly 10 million to just 6.6 million , while the richest population earning more than 1,500 rupees a day has also fallen by almost 30% to 1.8 million.
- Further Pew warned that the situation could be worse than expected.
- The methodology of this analysis assumes that income changes at the same rate for everyone.
- If the COVID-19 recession has worsened inequality, the increase in the number of poor will likely be larger than estimated in this analysis, and the decrease in the number of high-income people will likely be smaller than estimated.
- It is possible that the middle class has shrunk more than expected.
Trinamool says free and fair elections are not possible with a ‘partisan and one-sided’ electoral commission
Daily NEWS Summary | 19-03-2021; In a direct attack on the Election Commission (EC), the Trinamool Congress declared that the panel’s “partisan and one-sided approach” had made “free, fair and transparent elections” in West Bengal a distant reality.
- A six-member delegation met the EC in Delhi to discuss the Nandigram fighting incident on Thursday. The TMC particularly highlighted the EC’s decision not to allow the state police to be within 100 meters of an electoral college.
- The EC has indicated that only the central forces will be deployed near the polling stations.
- On the other hand, TMC said it was an “unprecedented” move and slandered the reputation of the state police administration.
- The EC had not taken such a decision for the other three States and the Union Territory of Pondicherry which were holding simultaneous elections.
- Further TMC also sought to remind the Commission that the state police had also worked with governments led by other political parties.
- The party also expressed disappointment with the EC for not agreeing to their request to count the results of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) with the Verifiable Paper Voter Verification Record (VVPAT) in each booth.
- EVM-VVPAT are counted in a randomly selected sample. The EC argued that counting each EVM with the VVPAT will delay the counting and reporting of results.
Assam elections | BJP sells hate to divide people, says Rahul Gandhi
Daily NEWS Summary | 19-03-2021; Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, criticized the BJP for “selling hatred” to divide the people while reaffirming his party’s commitment to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and increase workers’ daily wages of the tea plantations at ₹ 365 if the party were to vote for power in Assam.
- On a two-day visit to campaign for Mahajot at 10 o’clock or the great alliance, Gandhi’s program ranged from interacting with students in Lahowal and meeting tea plantation workers in Chabua, both in the eastern Dibrugarh district. from Assam, speaking at a public rally in Doomdooma in the neighboring district of Tinsukia.
- During the interaction and at the subsequent public rally, the congressman stated that Congress and its allies, if they vote in power in Assam, will ensure that the CAA is not implemented in the state.
Delhi High Court Refuses to Suspend ED Subpoena issued to Mehbooba Mufti
Daily NEWS Summary | 19-03-2021; The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to suspend the subpoena issued to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
- A bench of the of the Supreme Court D.N. Patel and Judge Jasmeet Singh denied the 61-year-old man any relief, saying: “We are not granting any suspension. We are not granting any reparations. The court published the hearing in his April 16 petition.
- Attorney General Tushar Mehta, representing ED, said Mufti simply needs to appear before officials. The ED has summoned Mufti for March 22nd.
- The leader of the PDP, in her guilty plea, argued that since she was released from preventive detention after the formal repeal of Article 370, she has faced a series of “hostile acts of the State.”
- She alleged that the ED is conducting a “walking investigation into her personal, political and financial affairs.” She also noted that her acquaintances and former friends of her family were also summoned by the agency.
Biden urged to reverse H-1B ban
Daily NEWS Summary | 19-03-2021; Five Democratic senators on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to reverse his predecessor Donald Trump’s ban on certain non-immigrant visas, including the H-1B visa, which is popular with IT professionals in India.
- They said the ban created uncertainty for American employers, their foreign-born professional workers and their families.
- In June 2020, Trump instituted Proclamation 10052, stopping the processing of H-1B, L-1, H-2B and J-1 nonimmigrant visas, based on the alleged potential risk to the job market.
- Although Proclamation 10052 expires on March 31, 2021, companies have indicated that inaction will further harm their business and economic recovery.
- Further, senators said that because the visas that Proclamation 10052 stopped are targeting low-unemployment occupations or require the visa holder not to move a U.S. worker, companies that rely on foreign workers have struggled to fill jobs despite rising unemployment.
- Reports have suggested that jobs in fields such as information technology, said to have held H-1B visa holders, have remained open or have moved abroad, said Senators Michael Bennet, Jeanne Shaheen, Angus King, Cory Booker, and Bob Menendez.
- The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in skilled occupations that require theoretical or technical experience. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year in countries like India and China.
Covid Updates: The number of coronavirus cases reported in India was 1,15,50,878 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with a death toll of 1,60,932.
- India reported 39,726 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest since November 29.
- There have been 20,654 recoveries and 154 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Department of Health.
- Three states, Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab, account for just over three-quarters of all active cases.
- All theaters, auditoriums and offices in Maharashtra will only occupy 50% of their capacity until March 31 amid an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the state government said in an order today.
The Lok Sabha today approved the Constitutional Order (Listed Castes) Bill (Amendment), 2021, which aims to put seven castes under a nomenclature of “Devendrakula Vellalars” with a few exceptions for certain castes from some districts of Tamil Nadu. The castes include Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan, Kalladi, Kudumban, Pallan, Pannadi and Vathiriyan.