Inequality Kills, Oxfam's Analysis On India's Income Disparity
Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief), is an international organization working towards fighting social evils such as poverty and inequality. The organization is also committed to working towards protecting marginalized communities and securing their human rights. Their operations are currently in 70 countries. On 17th January 2022, Oxfam published a report under the title “Inequality Kills”. This report brought forth the income-based disparity between the rich and the poor which had increased during the pandemic. Oxfam India published a supplement report which highlighted India’s performance.
The report suggests that in 2021, the number of Indian billionaires increased by 39 percent. Making India the third-largest country in the world for producing billionaires surpassing countries like France, Switzerland, and Sweden. In October 2021, the collective wealth of billionaires reached a record high and 80 percent of these rich families saw their standings increase significantly from the previous year. Moreover, the top 10 percent of India’s elite hold 45 percent of the country’s wealth. However, for the non-elite class, the situation was not bright. The unemployment rate had increased by 15 percent in 2021. 84 percent of Indian households witnessed a decline in income. The pandemic had forced 4.6 crore Indians to face extreme poverty. The report also adds, government employment schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) saw a record high number of enrolments in 2021. The report also provides a sharp critique on government strategies such as India’s present tax policies, inadequate spending allocated for the social sector, and increasing privatization of public goods and how these strategies have worked towards producing unequal economic outcomes. The report strongly professes the need for progressive taxation. In this way, the elite class can fund basic living for the needy. Moreover, funds can be generated for essential programs such as the mid-day meal schemes, Samagra Siksha Abhiyan etc. Furthermore, the report comments on inadequate funding on Health Care and education. Other middle-income countries such as Brazil and South Africa invest more heavily in these sectors than India. Lastly, the report provides solutions such as the need for measuring income inequality, redistribution of wealth and generating revenue to invest in education and health care sectors.
1. Oxfam India, Inequality Kills- India Supplement Report 2022, 17TH January 2022,
2. Oxfam International, Inequality Kills, 17TH January 2022
3. Bobins Abraham, Income Of 84% Indian Households fell in 2021, 4.6 crore became extremely poor, finds study; India Times; January 17th 2022