The richest 1% in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country last year, reveals the same Oxfam survey which was released hours before the annual World Economic Forum meet began in Davos, Switzerland. Last year’s survey+ had showed that India’s richest 1% held a huge 58% of the country’s total wealth “ higher than the global figure of about 50%.Sixty-seven crore Indians comprising the population’s poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1%. The situation appears even more grim globally, where 82% of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1%, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.
This year’s survey also showed that the wealth of India’s richest 1% increased by over Rs 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 “ an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18.
“2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13% a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2%,” it said.
In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.
In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.
It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime (presuming 50 years at work).
About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires’ wealth increased to over Rs 20.7 lakh crore “ increasing during last year by Rs 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85% of the all states’ budget on health and education.
India’s top 10% of population holds 73% of the wealth and 37% of India’s billionaires have inherited family wealth. They control 51% of the total wealth of billionaires in the country.
The survey also showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap and nine out of 10 billionaires are men.
In India, there are only four women billionaires and three of them inherited family wealth.
Why Wealth Concentrates?
Excessive influence of big business over government policy- making.
Relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.
What Could Be Done?
Promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs.
More Investments in Agriculture.
Effective implementation of social protection schemes.
Stringent Measures against tax evasion and avoidance.
Impose higher tax on super-rich
Remove corporate tax breaks.
Some favour 60% pay cut for CEOs.
(The above facts have been extracted from Oxfam Report ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’)
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