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Here’s What You Need To Know About India’s Worsening Inequality

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Oxfam India’s report on inequality in India released on Monday revealed that in 2021, India’s top one percent owned about half its wealth. It also found that just 5 percent of Indians own more than 60 percent of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50 percent of the population possess only 3 percent of the wealth.


India: extreme inequality in numbers | Oxfam International

Source- Oxfam International


Oxfam in its report titled ‘Survival of the Richest: The India Story,’ says that “inequalities are growing in India,” and that the impact of this is “especially stark at the margins of the Indian society, with some communities such as the Scheduled Tribes (STs) suffering from physical remoteness and systematic exclusion from the means to achieve vertical mobility.”

The report mentioned that approximately 64 percent of the total Rs 14.83 lakh crore in Goods and Services Tax (GST) came from the bottom 50 percent of the population in 2021-22, whereas only 3 percent of GST came from the top 10 percent.  

Oxfam added that India has the world’s highest number of poor at 228.9 million. On the other hand, the total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2020 to 166 billionaires in 2022.  The analysis in the report further shows that if India’s billionaires are taxed once at 2% on their entire wealth, it would support the requirement of Rs 40,423 crore for the nutrition of malnourished in the country for the next three years.


Wealth of India's 10 Richest Enough to Fund School, Higher Education for 25  Years: Oxfam India

Source-The Wire


The report claims that following the COVID-19 pandemic, the bottom 50 percent of the population in India has seen its “wealth chipped away” which is quite shocking. Between May and December 2022, inflation consistently breached the six per cent statutory limit set out in the amended Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

India’s richest man Gautam Adani has seen his wealth soar by 46 percent in 2022. The report highlighted that a one-off 20% tax on this billionaire’s unrealized gains from 2017–2021 could potentially raise INR 1.8 lakh crores.

The number of hungry Indians increased to 350 million in 2022 from 190 million in 2018. The widespread hunger is resulting in 65 percent of the deaths among children under the age of five in 2022. According to Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, “ India is unfortunately on a fast track to becoming a country only for the rich.”

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