Income inequality in India on decline(!) since 2017 claims SBI Ecowrap


Income inequality in India has been on a decline since FY17, as per the State Bank of India’s latest Ecowrap report. SBI Ecowrap stated that India also fared well during coronavirus pandemic in terms of navigating income shocks across population.
The report read, ‘‘With a progressive growth in output across states as proxied by GSDP (gross state domestic product), it is clear that the fruits of such a growth have clearly reverberated and dovetailed into an inclusive growth if estimates from Gini coefficient of state-wise per capita income are any indication that has improved since FY17. India has thus done quite well during pandemic in terms of navigating income shocks across deciles of population.’’
It further stated that average income of states reached from Rs 18,118 in 2001-02 to Rs 68,845 in 2011-12 and Rs 1,74,024 in 2021-22, while adding that inequality has significantly moderated in states. As per this report, coefficient of variation of per capita income of states went down from 76 per cent in 2011-12 to 67 per cent in 2021-22.
But do facts corroborate to this wild claim? Government data says number of backward districts has increased from 112 to 213. The progress or backwardness of a district is measured by taking into account productivity of agricultural crops, poverty rate and general as well as social structure. Understanding income inequality is very easy. How much is one weltering in sweat to meet the rising education cost of one’s children, whether one is getting proper medical care if falling ill, whether one can earn enough to arrange for two square meals a day, whether starvation and malnutrition deaths are rising or not etc. If inequality reduces, the income gap between the rich and poor would decrease. If number of backward districts goes up, does it indicate reduced income inequality? Unemployment is mounting so much so that the BJP Prime Minister who had to eat his own words by promising 2 crore jobs a year, is now speaking of providing 10 lakh jobs in next one year and a half. But 22% employed are already thrown out of job. Medical expenses have gone up by 14%. If 1% super-rich hold 73% of country’s wealth, if two richest industrial barons, Ambani and Adani earn Rs 90 and Rs 75 crores respectively per hour, if almost 80 % of the countrymen languish in abject poverty, how could the research wing of State Bank of India make such a weird claim? Is this finding data-based or dictated from the up? We would await the response from the SBI team.
(Source-Business Today 27-06-22, ABP 27-06-22 dated 04-07-22)

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