When the BJP Prime Minister and his associates are busy on narrating what a ‘spectacular’ progress India has made over the last few years and preparing to celebrate ‘‘Amrit Mahotsav’’ in commemoration of 75 years of India’s independence, the World Inequality Report 2022 published a few days back proved to be dampener. On India, the report says: ‘‘While the top 10 per cent and top 1 per cent hold respectively 57 per cent and 22 per cent of total national income, the bottom 50 per cent share has gone down to 13 per cent. India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite.’’
According to the report, India’s middle class is relatively poor with an average wealth of only 29.5 per cent of the total national income, as compared with the top 10 per cent and 1 per cent who own 65 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. The top 10 per cent earned 20 times more than the bottom 50 per cent. One in every four people in India was multidimensionally poor. The bottom 50 per cent of the households own almost nothing. Fruits of economic reforms monopolised by the elite. In a way, inequality in India has widened compared to British rule (since the period power was transferred from the East India company to the British Crown till Independence), said the report. Since the mid-1980s, deregulation and liberalisation policies have led to one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world, the report found.
The report also had adverse comments on the transparency of data released by the government. ‘‘Over the past three years, the quality of inequality data released by the government has seriously deteriorated, making it particularly difficult to assess recent inequality changes,’’ it said. (Source: Indian Express and Business Standard, 08-12-21)