Oxfam’s report ‘Inequality Kills’ released on Sunday said that the collective wealth of India’s hundred richest people has reached a record high of Rs 57.3 lakh crore in 2021. About one-fifth of the increase in wealth of the richest hundred families has come from the Adani family alone.
New Delhi: The Corona pandemic has worsened the already dire income inequality in the country. A recent report by Oxfam shows that the income of 84 percent of India’s households decreased in the year 2021, but the number of billionaires in the country increased from 102 to 142 in the same period.
According to the Indian Express report, Oxfam’s report ‘Inequality Kills’ was released on Sunday ahead of the Davos agenda of the World Economic Forum. This report revealed that amidst the havoc of Corona in the country, there has been a decline of 10 percent in the health budget from the revised estimate of 2020-2021.
According to the report, there has been a reduction of six percent in the allocation of education during this period. At the same time, the budgetary allocation for social security schemes came down from 1.5 per cent of the total Union budget to 0.6 per cent.
The report also said that the collective wealth of India’s 100 richest people has reached a record high of Rs 57.3 lakh crore in 2021. In the same year, the share of the bottom 50 percent of the population got only six percent.
The report suggests that the wealth of Indian billionaires increased from Rs 23.14 lakh crore to Rs 53.16 lakh crore during the pandemic (during March 2020 to November 30, 2021).
Meanwhile, it is also estimated that in the year 2020, more than 46 million Indians have reached extreme poverty in 2020. This figure is almost half of the global new poor, according to the United Nations.
According to the report, India is the third country after China and America, where the number of billionaires is highest. There has been a 39 percent increase in the number of billionaires in India in 2021 as compared to France, Sweden and Switzerland.
The increase comes at a time when the unemployment rate in India is as high as 15 per cent in urban areas and the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, the report said.
Oxfam said in the report that about a fifth of the increase in wealth of the country’s 100 richest families came from the Adani business house alone.
According to the report, Gautam Adani is ranked 24th globally in the list of rich, while second in India. His net worth has increased to $50.5 billion in 2021 while it was $8.9 billion in 2020. In this way, his wealth has increased eight times in a year.
Forbes figures show that as of November 24, 2021, Adani’s net worth is $ 82.2 billion. During the second wave of Corona in the country, there has been a tremendous jump in Adani’s assets in a span of eight months. These include returns from the Carmichael mines bought by Adani in Australia and buying a 74 per cent stake in the Mumbai airport.
At the same time, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth doubled to $85.5 billion in 2021 from $36.8 billion in 2020, the report said.
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said, “The bitter reality of this inequality indicates that at least 21,000 people are dying every day or one person every four seconds.”
He said, ‘The pandemic has turned gender equality back from 99 years to 135 years. Women collectively lost Rs 59.11 lakh crore in earnings in 2020. Compared to 2019, now 1.3 crore fewer women work.
Oxfam India in its briefing also mentioned an increase in indirect taxes as a share of the central government’s revenue in the last four years, while corporate tax declined during this period.
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