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March, 29 2015
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India’s economic euphoria sours, US report

The proportion of Indians who think current economic conditions are good is down seven percentage points from 2011. -File Photo

WASHINGTON: India’s economic euphoria has soured and the Indian economy is now faring worse than those of China and Brazil, says a US think-tank, the Pew Research Center.

The Indian economy, inspired by a robust growth in the last few years, was considered one of the leading economies of the world, and experts predicted that it was marching towards a double-digit growth.

But a survey of India by the Center’s Global Attitudes Project showed that Indians were now mixed in their assessment of the national economy: 49 per cent say the economy is in good shape, while 45 per cent describe the economy as bad.

A year ago opinion was more upbeat, with a 56 per cent-majority saying the national economy was doing well, compared to 43 per cent who disagreed. Despite this decline, Indians remain more positive about current economic conditions than populations in most of the 17 countries surveyed in both 2011 and 2012 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

“Nevertheless, the trend line in India conveys a more troubling story,” says the report, pointing out that just 38 per cent of Indians are satisfied with the way things are going in the country – a 13 percentage point decline since last year.

This is among the largest drops in national contentment across the countries surveyed in 2011 and 2012.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Indians who think current economic conditions are good is down seven percentage points from 2011. And only 45 per cent of Indians think their economy will improve over the next year.

This is a decline of 15 points since 2011, again the largest falloff among the 17 nations with comparable data.

A year ago, Indians’ economic mood trailed that in China, bested that in Europe and the United States, and was comparable to that in Brazil. In 2012, Indians’ evaluation of their current national economic situation trails that in China by 34 percentage points and Brazil by 16 points.

Indian satisfaction with the direction of the country is descending toward that in Europe and the United States.

The face-to-face survey of more than 4,000 people in India was conducted between March 19 and April 19. It also finds:

Income Differences: By a margin of 25 percentage points, higher-income Indians are more satisfied than lower-income Indians with their personal economic situation.

Richer Indians are more likely than lower-income Indians, by 13 points, to say they are better off than they were five years ago.  These differences by income group are generally greater in India than those found in Brazil, China or Turkey.

Modernity vs. Tradition: Indians are divided in their views of 21st-century life: 49 per cent like the pace of modern life, while 52 per cent complain that their traditional way of life is getting lost. Roughly eight-in-ten (79 per cent) want to shield their traditional culture from globalization.

Hard Work and Capitalism: Two of every three Indians believe most people can succeed if they are willing to work hard. About half (53 per cent) believe that it is more important for Indian society that everyone be free to pursue their life's goals without government interference rather than the state playing an active role in guaranteeing that nobody is in need (25 per cent).

Roughly six-in-ten Indians (61 per cent) think most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some are rich and some are poor.


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