A new survey released by international rights group Oxfam paints a grim picture of the financial inequality in India. According to the survey, India’s richest 1% own 73% of the country’s wealth in 2016-2017. This financial gap is a reflection of the global trends where 82% of the world’s wealth were owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2016-2017.
Last year, 1% of India’s richest owned 58% of the country’s total wealth. This figure was higher than the global figure of 50%. Between 2016-2017, the income of the 1% richest Indians grew by Rs 20.9 lakh crore, which is almost close to India’s Union Budget of 2017. While 67 crore Indians saw their wealth rise by just 1% in the survey period.
Around 50% of the bottom global population own 1% of total wealth in 2016-2017. If the global adult population stands at 5 billion, children’s population is at 2.5 billion, therefore for its survey Oxfam considered that children are distributed equally across the adult distribution and share the wealth of their parents/guardians. Hence, the bottom 50% represents 3.7 billion people.
Oxfam revealed that last year, a billionaire was made every two days. Now, there are 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide. Their wealth gained by $762 billion in just 12 months.
“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child's education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism," said Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal.