Indian incomes were on a downward slope—and then came the pandemic.
Household incomes in rural and urban India had begun to shrink from September 2019 owing to an ongoing economic slowdown. But the steepest decline came in April 2020, according to data from business information company Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which was analysed by Ashoka University’s Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA).
April was the first full month after the Indian government announced one of the world’s strictest Covid-19 lockdowns on March 24 last year. All economic activity came to a grinding halt, with everything from school and cinema halls to offices and factories completely shut. During April and May, several companies also announced steep pay cuts and layoffs, which corresponds with the CEDA-CMIE findings of household incomes.