Indians' economic optimism rose significantly in 2010 after tumbling amid the global recession with nearly half of them thinking their local economic conditions are improving, according to a new poll.
However, perceptions of job availability remain stagnant, particularly in India's less developed regions, a poll by Gallup, leading US public opinion survey organisation, released on Friday said.
Between 2007 and 2009, the percentage of Indians who thought their local economic conditions were getting better dropped from 52 per cent to 37 per cent, but rebounded to 45 per cent in 2010, the poll said.
Indians' perceptions about their own standard of living follow a similar pattern. This year, 44 per cent of Indians say their standard of living is improving, up from 32 per cent last year.
This year's figure is identical to the finding from July 2008, before the severity of the global downturn was fully apparent, the poll noted.
This rising optimism synchs with reported economic growth. After dipping below 6 per cent in 2008/2009, India's real GDP growth exceeded 7 per cent in 2009/2010 and is expected to approach 9 per cent this year, it said.
However, the country's prosperity is spread unevenly. Large income disparities exist between urban and rural areas and across regions, the poll said.
Regional results indicate the recession's effects were more severe for some Indians than others.
The country's South and West regions are where industrial activity and the IT sector are concentrated, and they include major economic hubs of Bangalore and Mumbai.
In these regions, 52 per cent say their standard of living is improving vs. 39 per cent in the less developed North, Central, and East regions.
Though optimism has rebounded in urban and rural areas, the recession in 2009 affected India's poorer regions more dramatically.
Any rebound in Indians' economic optimism should be welcome news not just to the Indian government, but also to a global community eyeing the country's emerging markets, Gallup said.
However, Gallup's data also make it clear that not all Indian consumers are likely to increase demand. Stark inequalities remain between regions that have enjoyed rapid economic development and those that have not.
Results of the poll are based on face-to-face interviews with 6,000 Indian adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in June 2010.