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India's poor hit hard by pandemic-induced downturn

Study shows number of those in poverty doubles, middle class shrinks by a third

A rickshaw puller in Delhi in August 2020. Due to the pandemic, many Indians still use public transport only when they must, severely impacting transportation workers' income.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Deepak Kumar, a father of two little girls in the Indian capital city, is now forced to sell French fries on a footpath after he lost his job last year in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm only making 200 to 250 rupees [$2.75 to $3.45] per day currently," Kumar, 29, told Nikkei Asia, pointing out that he used to earn 15,000 rupees monthly when he was working as an electrician with a hotel and another 8,000 to 10,000 rupees from a side business of arranging food supplies for small private functions. "The COVID-19-related lockdown forced the hotel to close down, while my part-time business also shut, as people do not host much parties now."

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