January 22, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: A report (copy blow) released today by Oxfam India said 73 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1%, while 67 crore Indians who comprise the poorest half of the population saw 1% increase in their wealth.
In the last 12 months the wealth of this elite group increased by Rs 20,913 billion. This amount is equivalent to total budget of Central Government in 2017-18.
Globally, 82 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth, says a new Oxfam report ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ released today.
The report launched ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where political and business elites from across the world will gather.
The report reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.
Oxfam’s report outlines the key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. These include the erosion of workers’ rights; the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.
India added 17 new billionaires last year, raising the number to 101 billionaires. Indian billionaires’ wealth increased by INR 4891 billion —from INR 15,778 billion to over INR 20,676 billion.
Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India said: “It is alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands. The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child’s education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism.”
Women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are concentrated in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men. In India, there are only four women billionaires and three of them inherited family wealth.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the World Economic Forum at Davos. Oxfam India is calling upon the Indian government to ensure our economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few:
Results of a new global survey commissioned by Oxfam demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality. Of the 70,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.
84% Indians agreed that the gap between the rich and poor in the country is too large and 73% want the Indian government to urgently reduce the difference in income between the rich and poor, says the report.
“People in India are ready for change. They want to see workers paid a living wage; they want corporations and the superrich to pay more tax; they want women workers to enjoy the same rights as men; they want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few. They want action towards an economy that works for all, development that uplift the billions and not the billionaires alone,” said Agrawal.
READ OXFAM REPORT ‘REWARD WORK NOT WEALTH’: