There are no exceptions. A graduate school will only admit as many students as they have full funding for. If they have less funding one year, it means a smaller class size. Everyone's funding is guaranteed on admission. If they accidentally get too many students one year and go over their budget, every University has financial reserves which they will use, then try to aim for a smaller class size next year to balance it out.
In general, tough economic times means it's harder for people to find jobs, so there are more applicants to graduate school, and simultaneously less funding available. These are the most competitive times for applicants, not the easiest. However, no matter what year you apply, you'll have to have an excellent overall application to gain admission to a top university, as there are always plenty of excellent applicants every year.
Please keep in mind that the US admissions system is very different from what I've heard of the Indian system. Test scores are only a small part of your application and cannot guarantee you anything. Applicants are not ranked based on scores. Their entire application is judged as a whole, and strong letters of recommendation, good grades, and excellent research experience can all offset poorer test scores.