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India’s richest get richer by 39% in 2018; just 3% rise for bottom-half

Indian billionaires saw their fortunes swell by Rs 2,200 crore a day last year, with the top 1 per cent of the country’s richest getting richer by 39 per cent as against just 3 per cent increase in wealth for the bottom-half of the population, an Oxfam study said on Monday.

Globally, billionaires’ fortunes rose by 12 per cent or $2.5 billion a day in 2018, whereas the poorest half of the world’s population saw their wealth decline by 11 percent, the international rights group said in its annual study released before the start of the five-day World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in this Swiss ski resort town.

Oxfam further said that 13.6 crore Indians, who make up the poorest 10 percent of the country, continued to remain in debt since 2004.

Asking the political and business leaders who have gathered in Davos for the annual jamboree of the rich and powerful of the world to take urgent steps to tackle the growing rich-poor divide, Oxfam said this increasing inequality is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging economies and fuelling public anger across the globe.

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, one of the key participants at the WEF summit, said it is “morally outrageous” that a few wealthy individuals are amassing a growing share of India’s wealth, while the poor are struggling to eat their next meal or pay for their child’s medicines.

“If this obscene inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of the country,” she added.

 

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