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Indians get pessimistic amid global downturn

delhi Updated: Jul 13, 2012 01:49 IST
Abhijit Patnaik
Abhijit Patnaik
Hindustan Times

The rain gods may have brought some cheer to everyone after a scorching summer, but a sense of gloom about the Indian economy appears to be building.

A study by US-based Pew Research Centre has found that while just a year ago, 51% people were satisfied with the way things were in the country (and 47% dissatisfied), today, the proportions have reversed — 59% are dissatisfied and only 38% satisfied. More worryingly, two in three respondents felt it is difficult for them to get better jobs and become wealthier than their parents.

A greater percentage of Indian respondents (92%) blamed the government for the woes than in the case of crisis-stricken Greece (87%) and Spain (59%).

“I was much more optimistic in 2011; budgets and clients have dwindled in the past year and the job scene is quite bad,” said Surbhi Kapoor, 25, software engineer at consulting firm Accenture.

“The next 24-36 months will be tough. China slowing down, oil prices rising and the state of domestic reforms are to be blamed for the lack of optimism,” said Joytan Chatterjee, 30, director, Deloitte JMW Energy.

Access to better infrastructure, society and culture due to globalisation may have led to a better standard of living, but that does not mean we are a happier generation, he added.

There are a few silver linings: nearly two-thirds of the 4,000-plus respondents who participated in the survey — ‘Pew Global Attitudes Project’ — consider their personal economic situation as good, and only a quarter said they are worse-off compared to five years ago. Again, two-thirds feel their standard of living is better than that of their parents at the same age.

The economic mood across the world is similarly glum, or worse. A median of just 27% think their national economy is doing well, the 21-country survey shows. Only in China (83%), Germany (73%), Brazil (65%) and Turkey (57%) do a majority report their national economic conditions as good.

Public mood about the economy has worsened since 2008 in eight of 15 countries for which there is comparable data, while it is unchanged in four others. The Chinese, however, have been positive about their economy for the past decade. Less than a third of Americans say the US economy is doing well, up 13 percentage points from 2011, but still 19 points lower than in 2007.

In fact, the survey of more than 26,000 people conducted by Pew between March 17 and April 20 finds that the contrast in economic outlook between four of the emerging markets surveyed - Brazil, China, India and Turkey - and the EU and US is striking.

People living in emerging economies generally are more likely than Americans or Europeans to say they are doing better than their parents. They are also more upbeat on whether they think economic conditions in their countries are good, on whether they are financially better off than five years ago, and about the future of their children.

"I am definitely doing better than my parents. People who are 5-6 years younger than me also have a better standard of living than what their parents had," said Sonali Munjal , a 23-year-old tax accountant at KPMG.

Inputs from Shubhi Vijay and Paramita Ghosh

You can read the full report here: