Covid-19 Helped Indian Billionaires Become 35% Richer Even As 1.7 Lakh Jobs Lost Per Hour
India is a nation with glaring income inequality. That is evident from the wealth distribution as 77 percent of total national wealth is with top 10 percent of Indian population. Richest 1 percent generated 73 percent of national wealth whereas the poorest half of nation saw only 1 percent increase in their wealth.
The pandemic has aggravated this vice. Many are struggling with prolonged periods of unemployment as well as access to basic healthcare and sanitation.
The Statistics of “Inequality” :-
During the lockdown, wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35 percent whereas 84 per cent of households suffered varying degrees of income loss. In April 2020, almost 1.7 lakh people lost their jobs every hour.
According to a stats, the increased wealth with top billionaires was sufficient to give a cheque of almost 94000 rupees each to the poorest 138 million.
The report said that the inequality in our nation is precarious and poignant as it would take 10000 years for an unskilled worker to make as much money as Mr. Mukesh Ambani, the fourth richest man in the world and richest Indian, makes in an hour, and three years to what he makes in a second.
After the world’s strictest lockdown was enforced, lakhs of migrant workers were left without jobs, money, food or shelter. Thousands of people walking arduous kilometres back to home, with many succumbing to deaths.
An economic relief package worth around ? 20 lakh crore was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While it was hailed to be a cornerstone to Self-reliant India, whereas according to a report the “direct fiscal impact” of the package came to “a little more than INR 2 lakh crore, or a mere one per cent of GDP”.
According to the report, if the nation’s top 11 billionaires were taxed at just one per cent, it could increase the resource allocation to the Jan Aushadhi scheme. This would make quality medicines available at affordable prices – by 140 times.
The norms and protocols of social distancing and washing of hands were a luxury to people who live in one or two room houses.
This exacerbation of income inequalities is spread across the world. The report said that while the wealth of worldwide billionaires increased by $3.9 trillion, there has been an increase of anywhere between 200 million to 500 million in people living in poverty.
Some Suggestions To The Government:-
As a suggestion to curb this inequality, it has been suggested to the Government of India to revise minimum wages as well as timely revision for the same.
A temporary tax on corporates making windfall as well as a 2 percent surcharge on people who earn more than 50 lakhs is also called upon.
It is time now to take specific and concrete actions for building a better future.