Indians made poorer by currency depreciation

NEW DELHI, August 29, 2013 (AFP) – Seventeen-year-old Indian student Appu Sharma was going to apply to a US university to study economics but with the rupee on the ropes, he’s set his sights closer to home. Jayakrishnan declined to name figures but press reports calculated the three-day wedding he helped design for the daughter of British-based billionaire Pramod Agarwal in 2011 in Venice cost $27 million. “I’ll do my BA here and maybe my postgrad abroad if the rupee improves — my family can’t afford to pay foreign fees now,” the New Delhi Class 12 student told AFP.

With the currency hovering at record lows of nearly 69 rupees to the dollar and seen heading south, the estimated 300-million-strong middle-class are being forced to rethink many of their plans.

Holidays abroad are being jettisoned as India grapples with its “new normal” — a weak currency, growth at a decade-low of five percent, stubbornly high consumer price inflation and elevated interest rates that are stifling investment.

“Dollar on an escalator, rupee on a ventilator, nation in the ICU,” reads one Twitter joke that went viral in India, lamenting the nation’s economic trials.

Subhash Goyal, head of the Indian Association