Income inequality continues to grow in India amid COVID-19, says Oxfam report

Income inequality continues to grow in India amid COVID-19, says Oxfam report
A government official uses a megaphone to urge the pilgrims to maintain social distance and to wear face masks, as pilgrims gather at the confluence of the river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of “Makar Sankranti" festival at Sagar Island, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, January 14, 2022. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri


  • Wealth around the world has surged during the pandemic. Things like crypto to commodities to stocks all saw their value jump (some to record-highs) during this period.
  • Also, during this time, though, income inequality has been exacerbated.
  • According to the Bloomberg Billionaires List, the world’s 500 wealthiest people added more than US$1 trillion to their net worths last year.

The development

  • Revealing the increasing inequality worldwide, the Oxfam Davos report of 2022 showed that India added 40 more billionaires to its ranks, arriving at a total of 142 last year.
  • This wealthy group has a combined fortune of around US$720 billion, which is worth more than 40% of the country’s population (about 1.3 billion). In addition, the report stated that the country now has more billionaires than France, Sweden and Switzerland combined.
  • The report showed that while specific policies helped make the wealthy even wealthier, the national minimum wage has stayed at 178 rupees per day since 2020, which is about US$2.50. In 2020, the number of poor in the south Asian nation doubled to 134 million.
  • “Unfortunately, not only has the taxation policy of the Indian government been pro-rich, it has also deprived India’s States of important fiscal resources — both particularly damaging in the context of the Covid-19 crisis," the report stated.
  • The group urged the Indian government to revisit its policies to redistribute wealth.

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