Economy

Pandemic saw 11 richest Indians earning ₹7.2 lakh crore: Oxfam report

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 25, 2021

The report titled “The Inequality Virus” said the increase in the income of these richest Indians is good enough to sustain the country’s budgetary allocation for health for 10 years and its rural employment guarantee scheme, MNREGS, for 11 years

The wealth of India’s top 11 billionaires rose by 35 per cent, or by over ₹7.2 lakh crore during the pandemic months despite the fact that most of India has faced a loss of livelihoods and its economy has dipped into recession for the first time after a quarter of a century, according to a report by Oxfam, one of world’s top non-governmental organisations.

The report titled “The Inequality Virus”, brought out around the time the World Economic Forum virtually convenes for Davos Dialogues where key global leaders expected to speak, said the increase in the income of these richest Indians is good enough to sustain the country’s budgetary allocation for health for 10 years and its rural employment guarantee scheme, MNREGS, for 11 years.

Citing a survey done by Credit Vidya, the report said the loss of income among those earning more than ₹60,000 a month was 10 per cent compared to their pre-pandemic income whereas the income of those earning less than ₹20,000 a month reduced to 37 per cent of their pre-pandemic income.

Also read: Oxfam urges radical economic rejig for post-Covid world

The pandemic also saw widening of the inequalities in other areas such as education, gender and health as well. For instance, the digital mode of delivering education proved exclusionary with only 4 per cent of rural households having a computer and less than 15 per cent an interne connection. Similarly, out of the poorest 20 households in India, only 2.7 per cent have access to a computer and 8.9 per cent to internet facilities.

The worst-hit during the pandemic was informal workers. They accounted for 75 per cent of the 112 million people who lost their jobs. Their mass exodus on foot triggered by the sudden lockdown turned the health emergency into a humanitarian crisis,” said the Oxfam report.

Also read: Covid-19 vaccine: Wealthy nations have secured over 50 per cent of promised doses, says Oxfam

Similarly, women bore the maximum burden of the lockdown with unemployment among women rose by 15 per cent from a pre-lockdown level of 18 per cent. This increase in unemployment of women can result in a loss of $218 billion, or 8 per cent of India’s GDP, it said citing studies.

In addition, the total time spent in both paid and unpaid activities by women rose with the increase in the workload as a result of being stuck at homes. Women have been working longer hours and simultaneously managing the daily chores of the household, the educational needs of the children and care for all members of the family. The work-from-home culture has also blurred the lines between working hours and personal downtime, the report said.

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Published on January 25, 2021
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