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What is the news?
Oxfam has released a report titled “Inequality Kills’’.
The report has been released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda.
What are the key findings of the report?
The wealth of the 10 richest men has doubled, while the incomes of 99% of humanity are worse off, because of COVID-19.
Inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds.
The pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 years to 135 years.Women collectively lost Rs 59.11 lakh crore (USD 800 billion) in earnings in 2020, with 1.3 crore fewer women in work now than in 2019.
What are the key findings of the report with respect to India?
Inequality worsened by the Covid pandemic: The income of 84% of households in the country declined in 2021. But at the same time, the number of Indian billionaires grew from 102 to 142.
India has the third-highest number of billionaires in the world, just behind China and the United States. There is a 39% increase in the number of billionaires in India in 2021.
In 2021, the share of the bottom 50% of the population in national wealth was a mere 6%.
More than 4.6 crore Indians are estimated to have fallen into extreme poverty in 2020.
Decrease in Social Expenditure: The healthcare budget saw a 10% decline from RE (revised estimates) of 2020-21. There was a 6% cut in allocation for education.
Moreover, the budgetary allocation for social security schemes declined from 1.5% of the total Union budget to 0.6%.
Dependence on Indirect taxes: There was an increase in indirect taxes as a share of the Union government revenue in the last four years.On the other hand, the proportion of corporate tax in the same was declining.
The additional tax imposed on fuel has risen 33% in the first six months of 2020-21 as compared to the last year and 79 per cent more than pre-Covid levels.
At the same time, lowering of corporate taxes from 30% to 22% to attract investment last year resulted in a loss of Rs 1.5 lakh crore, which contributed to the increase in India’s fiscal deficit.
Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE): The data from the National Sample Survey (NSS) (2017-18) shows that Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) in private hospitals is almost six times of that in public hospitals for inpatient care and two or three times higher for outpatient care. The average OOPE in India is at 62.67%, while the global average is at 18.12%.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Oxfam report: In 2021, income of 84% households fell, but number of billionaires grew’ published in Indian Express on 18th January 2022.