The Oxfam Inequality Report 2019 that was published on 21st January 2019 has made it very clear that the income inequality in India is only rising. This in turn is threatening the very social fabric of the country as well. The report has mentioned in detail some shocking information regarding the state of income inequality in India. Right now, the top 1 per cent owns 51.53 per cent of the national wealth and the lowest 60 per cent own around 4.8 per cent of the same. This shows quite clearly as to how the super rich are earning all the wealth while the poor are only becoming poorer.
The relation between inequality and gender
The report has also shed light on how women happen to be the poorest of the poor. It puts special emphasis on the condition of women in this particular context. It has also cited a report from UN (United Nations) in this particular regard. The UN report says that in India women still get 34 per cent less for the same work done by men. The report also says that all around the world women earn 23 per cent lesser than men, while the latter own 50 per cent more wealth than them.
Tax breaks provided to the super rich
The report has also said that right now the wealthiest individuals as well as corporations are paying the lowest taxes than they have done in many decades in India. It has also said that the levels of tax evasion and avoidance among these people are unprecedented. This has made sure that the richest still pay a lot less taxes than they ideally should. The report has also added that there is absolutely no moral justification for such actions. It has stated quite clearly that the super rich people are yet to pay around 7.6 trillion dollars in taxes from the authorities.
What is happening in India?
In 2018 India added 18 new billionaires. This implies that the country now has 119 such individuals. In fact, their total wealth is said to be higher than the union budget passed by the Indian government for the 2018-19 fiscal. That particular budget had, as per the report, earmarked an amount of INR 24,422 billion. In fact, Mukesh Ambani, the richest billionaire in India, owns more wealth than the total expenses and revenues of the national government and all the states in India for key areas such as public health, water supply, and sanitation.
What has the report recommended for the government?
The report has made some suggestions to the Indian government so that it can make the society a lot fairer than what it is. It has said that if the richest 1 per cent of India can be made to pay even 0.5 per cent more tax on their additional wealth, the government would have enough money in its hands to increase spending on health by as much as 50 per cent. It has also asked the government to take some other important steps such as making school education free.
Who are the richest Indians?
Following are the 9 richest Indians whom the Oxfam report may have referred to:
- Mukesh Ambani
- Azim Premji
- Lakshmi Mittal
- Hinduja family
- Pallonji Mistry
- Shiv Nadar
- Godrej family
- Dilip Shanghvi
- Kumar Mangalam Birla