Top 10 Richest Indians Can Fund School, Higher Education Of Every Child For 25 Years: Study
World Economic Forum: In its inequality report released on the first day of WEF Davos Summit, Oxfam India said that an additional one per cent tax on the 98 richest billionaire families would finance Ayushman Bharat, the world's largest health insurance scheme, for more than seven years.
New Delhi: Indian billionaires saw their combined fortunes more than double during COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest report by Oxfam India. The number of billionaires rose to 142, up by 39 per cent from the previous year. Notably, the wealth of only the top ten of these 142 billionaires is enough to fund the education of every child in the country, for the next 25 years.
Oxfam India released its Annual Inequality Survey on the First Day of the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos summit. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the virtual summit at Davos today, on January 17, 2022, according to media reports.
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The report further said that an additional one per cent tax on the richest 10 per cent can provide the country with nearly 17.7 lakh extra oxygen cylinders. The country saw a severe shortage of oxygen supply during the second wave of the pandemic. A similar wealth tax on the 98 richest billionaire families would finance Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest health insurance scheme, for more than seven years.
Key Points According to Annual Inequality Report
- 142 Indian billionaires collectively own a wealth of USD 719 billion (over Rs 53 lakh crore).
- The richest 98 Indians now have the same wealth as the poorest 55.5 crore people in the bottom 40 per cent (USD 657 billion or nearly Rs 49 lakh crore).
- If each of the 10 richest Indian billionaires were to spend USD one million daily, it would take them 84 years to exhaust their current wealth.
- An annual wealth tax applied to multi-millionaires and billionaires would raise USD 78.3 billion a year that would be enough to increase the government health budget by 271 per cent or eliminate households’ out-of-pocket health budget and still leave some USD 30.5 billion.
- During the pandemic, the wealthiest 10 per cent amassed 45 per cent of the national wealth while the share of the bottom 50 per cent of the population is a mere 6 per cent.
- Gender Inequality: Women accounted for 28 per cent of all job losses and lost two-thirds of their income during the pandemic.
- It also said that India’s 2021 budget allocation for the Ministry of Women and Child Development is less than half of the total accumulated wealth of the bottom ten of India’s billionaire list.
- If the wealth of the first 100 billionaires are accumulated, they could fund the National Rural Livelihood Mission scheme, responsible for creating Self Help Groups for women, for the next 365 years.
- Health inequality: The report said a 4 per cent wealth tax on the 98 richest families in India would finance the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for more than 2 years.
- The combined wealth of 98 richest families in India is 41 per cent more than the Union Budget of India.
- Education Inequality: A 1 per cent of tax on the wealth of the 98 billionaires in India can fund the total annual expenditure of the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.
- 4 per cent of tax on their wealth can take care of Mid-Day-Meal programme of the country for 17 years or Samagra Sikshya Abhiyan for 6 years.
- Also, a similar tax of 4 per cent the wealth of the 98 billionaires would be enough to fund the Mission POSHAN 2.0, which includes Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and National Creche Scheme, for 10 years
Suggestions In The Report
The report also urged the government to adopt more progressive methods of taxation in the country. It also suggested that the government should rethink its primary sources of income and assess the structural faults that lead to such wealth accumulation.
It further stated that government must direct more allocation towards health, education and social security to reduce the inequalities in these sectors.
“We call upon the government to redistribute India’s wealth from the super-rich to generate resources for the majority by reintroducing the wealth tax and to generate revenue to invest in the education and health of future generations by imposing a temporary one per cent surcharge on the rich for health and education,” the report said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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