India leads world in suffering: Gallup poll

One in seven adults worldwide rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering in 2012, leading US opinion poll organization said Tuesday. South Asia led the world in suffering at 24 percent, followed by 21 percent in the Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa.

Attributing the massive increase in suffering among South Asians "to negative developments in India" Gallup said, Average suffering in India more than doubled between 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2012. In 2012, a full quarter of Indians were suffering."

The significant deterioration in Indians' well-being is likely to be rooted in the country's disappointing economic performance, it said.

India's growth rate has now sunk from 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 4.4 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the worst quarterly rate since 2002, it noted.

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"The Indian government's failure to cut graft and red tape, as well as to liberalize its markets for labour, energy, and land, explains why the World Bank continues to rank the country as a bad place to do business," Gallup said.

"Now New Delhi is trying a different strategy to improve the wellbeing of its people. It just passed the Right to Food Act to provide food at subsidized rates to 71 percent of its population," it said.

Comparing average suffering for 2006-2008 with the average for 2010-2012, suffering increased by three percentage points worldwide, according to the Gallup poll.

South Asia clearly registers the biggest increase in suffering during this period and because of its large population, it is mostly responsible for the worldwide uptick.

Suffering in the region has increased enormously since the beginning of the global financial and economic crisis, averaging 12 percent between 2006 and 2008, and 22 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa defy the global trend. Between 2010 and 2012, residents of both regions were on average less likely to be suffering than they were before the outbreak of the global economic crisis, Gallup said.

Resource-oriented, emerging-market economies in both regions largely managed to avoid the recession that plagued more mature economies in Northern America and Europe.

Gallup classified respondents as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a scale of 0-10 with those rating their current lives a 4 or lower and their lives in five years a 4 or lower considered "suffering."

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