Life’s Gotten Tougher
The C Voter poll shows there has been a sharp decline in the ‘well-being’ perception of middle class Indians after the latest Budget
Team Modi has reasons to worry. The results of an opinion poll soon after Arun Jaitley delivered his third budget points to increasing unhappiness and that worse days might be ahead. The C Voter poll revolved around three questions: Inflation and inflation expectations; economic well being in the last one year and expectations for the next year. The most dangerous message for Team Modi comes from what middle class Indians think about their economic well being. In 2015, about 35 per cent of those polled thought their well-being had improved since 2014; In 2016, that figure has dropped to just above 27 per cent.
Team Modi should be even more worried about what Indians expect in the future. In 2015, more than 55 per cent of those polled were of the opinion that their quality of life will improve over the next year. In 2016, it has dropped to about 46 per cent. You do to need to be a pundit to figure out what this means for the slogan Achhe Din. Votaries of this regime keep harping on the fact that the manner in which inflation, as reflected in the wholesale price index, has been controlled and brought down deserves kudos. But what do ordinary Indians think? After Jaitley presented his 2015-16 budget last year, more than 17 per cent of those polled thought that prices would come down significantly in the coming year. This year, the proportion of these optimists has dropped to just 9 per cent.
Clearly, middle class India is not revolting against the NDA regime the way it started doing against the UPA in 2011. But if things go on the way they have, we just might have a repeat of the 2004 elections which showed the door to the NDA.
This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'March 21, 2016' with cover story titled 'Budget 2016 Split Verdict'
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