Wealth of India's richest 1% more than 4-times of total for 70% poorest: Oxfam | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Wealth of India’s richest 1% more than 4-times of total for 70% poorest: Oxfam – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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Wealth of India’s richest 1% more than 4-times of total for 70% poorest: Oxfam

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DAVOS : India’s richest 1 per cent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country’s population, while the total wealth of all Indian billionaires is more than the full-year budget, a new study said on Monday.

Releasing the study ‘Time to Care’ here ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), rights group Oxfam also said the world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 per cent of the planet’s population.

The report flagged that global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast and the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade, despite their combined wealth having declined in the last year.

“The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these,” said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is here to represent the Oxfam confederation this year.

The issues of income and gender inequality are expected to figure prominently in discussions at the five-day summit of the WEF, starting Monday. The WEF’s annual Global Risks Report has also warned that the downward pressure on the global economy from macroeconomic fragilities and financial inequality continued to intensify in 2019.

Concern about inequality underlies recent social unrest in almost every continent, although it may be sparked by different tipping points such as corruption, constitutional breaches, or the rise in prices for basic goods and services, as per the WEF report.

Although global inequality has declined over the past three decades, domestic income inequality has risen in many countries, particularly in advanced economies and reached historic highs in some, the Global Risks Report flagged last week.

The Oxfam report further said “sexist” economies are fuelling the inequality crisis by enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls.

Regarding India, Oxfam said the combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at ₹24,42,200 crore.

“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist,” Behar said.

As per the report, it would take a female domestic worker 22,277 years to earn what a top CEO of a technology company makes in one year.

With earnings pegged at ₹106 per second, a tech CEO would make more in 10 minutes than what a domestic worker would make in one year.

It further said women and girls put in 3.26 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day — a contribution to the Indian economy of at least ₹19 lakh crore a year, which is 20 times the entire education budget of India in 2019 ( ₹93,000 crore).

Besides, direct public investments in the care economy of 2 per cent of GDP would potentially create 11 million new jobs and make up for the 11 million jobs lost in 2018, the report said.

Behar said the gap between rich and poor cannot be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these.

He said women and girls are among those who benefit the least from today’s economic system.

“They spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving.

“It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy,” Behar added.

Oxfam said governments are massively under-taxing the wealthiest individuals and corporations and failing to collect revenues that could help lift the responsibility of care from women and tackle poverty and inequality.

Besides, the governments are also underfunding vital public services and infrastructure that could help reduce women and girls’ workload, the report said.

As per the global survey, the 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.

Besides, women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day — a contribution to the global economy of at least USD 10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the size of the global tech industry.

Getting the richest one per cent to pay just 0.5 per cent extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare, education and health.

Governments must prioritise care as being as important as all other sectors in order to build more human economies that work for everyone, not just a fortunate few, Behar said.

Oxfam said its calculations are based on the latest data sources available, including from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2019 and Forbes’ 2019 Billionaires List.

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F-35 has no chance against a drone fighter plane: Elon Musk

The US Air Force successfully tested an advanced, jet-powered drone called the XQ58-A Valkyrie recently that could accompany human-piloted fighter jets on missions.

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San Francisco, Feb 29: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confident that the traditional warfare era is long over and the future belongs to drone fighter planes that will dominate the sky and F-35 fighter jets will have nowhere to go.

Addressing the gathering at Air Warfare Symposium organised by the US Air Force in Florida on Friday, Musk said the age of fighter jets dominating the sky is over.

“For the air domain… things are definitely going to go into, kind of… locally autonomous drone warfare… is where the future will be… It’s not I want the future to be this, this is what the future will be, autonomous drone warfare…,” The Drive reported Musk as saying.

“Drones locally will be autonomous, but I think we still want to retain the authority to damage or destroy anything that isn’t an autonomous drone. Keep the authority back there with a person in the loom. The fighter jet era has passed. It’s drones,” Musk added.

Later, in a tweet, the SpaceX founder said: “The competitor should be a drone fighter plane that’s remote controlled by a human, but with its maneuvers augmented by autonomy. The F-35 would have no chance against it”.

He stressed that F-35 stealth jet “would have no chance” against a drone remotely piloted by a human.

The US Air Force successfully tested an advanced, jet-powered drone called the XQ58-A Valkyrie recently that could accompany human-piloted fighter jets on missions.

The autonomous unmanned vehicle, can play a key role in electronic warfare, strike and surveillance on the battlefield.

According to New Atlas, the Valkyrie can carry a small payload of smart bombs, and has a range of just under 2,500 miles. The F-16 Fighting Falcon tops out at just over 2,600 miles while the F-22 Raptor has a range of over 1,800 miles.

Musk also discussed about making a Starfleet real at the symposium.

“How do we make Starfleet real?” he asked, stressing that reusable launch vehicles are “absolutely fundamental” to achieving whatever space ambitions the military might have, including staying ahead of China.

“I think we can go a long way to make Starfleet real and these utopian futures real”.

“The foundation of war is economics. If you have half the resources of the counter-party then you better be real innovative because [otherwise] we’re going to lose� The US will be, militarily, second,” Musk said.

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Mukesh Ambani named world’s ninth richest, with 2 others

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New Delhi, Feb 28 Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani is the ninth richest person in the world along with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Larry Page of Google, each having a net worth of $67 billion, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020.

Ambani, 62, maintained a place in the top 10 for the second time after a $13 billion or 24 per cent surge in his wealth to $67bn.

“The only Asian in the Top 10, Ambani’s wealth increased mainly on the back of a good performance in his telecom business,” the Hurun Rich List said.

Ambani is restructuring Reliance Industries to facilitate the planned strategic investments in group businesses – Reliance Jio, Reliance Retail, refining and petrochemicals. The conglomerate aims to be a zero net debt company in 18 months and is in discussion to sell 20 per cent oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco, at an enterprise value of $75 billion. RIL became the first Indian company to hit the milestone of achieving Rs 10 lakh crore market capitalisation.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos retains the top spot in the Hurun Global Rich List 2020 with $140 billion, down $7 billion, mainly due to the world’s largest divorce settlement with former wife MacKenzie Bezos, who makes the list in her own right with $44 billion.

Amazon is one of four companies, whose valuations have hit $1 trillion, the others being Microsoft, Apple and Google. Bezos bought a $165 million home, setting a new record for Los Angeles. In February, he pledged $10 billion to help fight climate change.

Bill Gates, dropped down to third place on the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, with $106 billion, despite growing his wealth $10 billion or 10 per cent. Last month, Gates announced a $100 million commitment to fight coronavirus which has triggered a global health emergency.

Over the past two decades, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given out more than $50 billion to global health and education.

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Govt caught ‘Karo Na’ virus: Congress makes jibe on economy

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

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New Delhi, Feb 28 : The Congress once again took a jibe on the government, saying that under it, the economy has got infected by “Karo Na” (Don’t do anything) virus.

In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said “The latest GDP numbers reflect that “Karo-na” (Don’t do anything) virus has plagued the functioning of the BJP government.”

“The economy is in shambles, stagflation is there, every indicator of economy is showing a downward trend, yet the government continues to function as an ostrich.”

The Congress alleged that the BJP government is ignoring all the alarming econmic indicators.

To bolster his claim, Surjewala shared the figures of the quarter, saying: “The GDP in the third quarter i.e. December 2019 was recorded to be 4.7 per cent and GVA was at 4.5 per cent.”

Another spokesperson Gaurav Ballabh, a professor in a management college, said, “Manufacturing growth is minus 0.2 per cent (during Q3) which clearly indicates that there’s no improvement in the demand.”

He also gave example of the real estate sector as he said that it is at an all time high stress with more than 12 lakh units lying unsold and there are no signs of revival as of now.

The party said the demand and consumption sentiments are still low despite so-called stimulus by the government in September 2019 and the Budget 2020-21 which shows that the government is not concerned.

Exports are significantly low and industries are under stress which is clearly visible in the umemployment rate. The government is doing nothing to stop this unabted risk in the country, the party said.

The economy is in a huge risk as capital formation is at a negative of 5.2 per cent clearly indicating that there’s no positive outlook for investments.

“Does government wants to manage the numbers through unclear revisions? Why aren’t they coming out with the truth? It’s not the 20 basis point improvement, which will improve the sentiments, rather action should be taken with right intent,” said Surjewala.

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