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India’s richest became richer by 39% in 2018, while poor trudged at 3%: Oxfam

PW Bureau

The country’s richest billionaires saw their collective wealth increase by Rs 2,200 crore a day last year, while 13.6 crore Indians, the poorest 10 percent, have remained in debt since 2004 New Delhi: India’s richest people’s share of real income grew by 39 percent in 2018 just as the poorest half of the population grew richer by only 3 percent, an Oxfam study said Monday. The country’s richest billionaires saw their collective wealth increase by Rs 2,200 crore a day last year, while 13.6 crore Indians, the poorest 10 percent, have remained in debt since 2004, the report added. The anti-poverty charity, which has its headquarters in Nigeria, also conducted surveys in the United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and Morocco. The report was released ahead of the five-day World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting which will be held in Davos, Switzerland, from Tuesday. "India's top 10 percent of the population holds 77.4 per ent of the total national wealth. The contrast is even sharper for the top 1 percent that holds 51.53 per cent of the national wealth," Oxfam said.
Oxfam said that India is expected to create 70 new dollar millionaires every day between 2018 and 2022. The country added 18 new billionaires in 2018, raising the total number of billionaires to 119 with their collective wealth worth Rs 28 lakh crore.
"The bottom 60 percent, the majority of the population, own merely 4.8 percent of the national wealth. Wealth of top 9 billionaires is equivalent to the wealth of the bottom 50 per cent of the population.” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the increasing gap between the rich and the poor was holding back India’s fight against poverty. "If this obscene inequality between the top one percent and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of this country," she said. Oxfam said that India is expected to create 70 new dollar millionaires every day between 2018 and 2022. The country added 18 new billionaires in 2018, raising the total number of billionaires to 119 with their collective wealth worth Rs 28 lakh crore. Every two days last year, a new billionaire was created in the world while the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population went down by 11 percent.