Inequality Report Holds India As A ‘Very Unequal’ Country

India stands out as a “poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite”, where the top 10 per cent holds 57 per cent of the total national income while the bottom 50 per cent’s share is just 13 per cent in 2021, according to the latest World Inequality Report 2022.

The report has also flagged a drop in global income during 2020, with about half of the dip in rich countries and the rest in low-income and emerging regions. This is attributed primarily due to the impact of “South and Southeast Asia, and more precisely” India.

“When India is removed from the analysis, it appears that the global bottom 50 per cent income share actually slightly increased in 2020,” states the report authored by economist and co-director of the World Inequality Lab, Lucas Chancel, along with economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

“While the top 10 per cent and top 1 per cent hold respectively 57 per cent and 22 per cent of total national income, the bottom 50 per cent share has gone down to 13 per cent. India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite,” the report states.

The average annual national income of the Indian adult population is Rs 2,04,200 in 2021. The bottom 50 per cent earned Rs 53,610, while the top 10 per cent earned over 20 times more (Rs 11,66,520), the report states. The average household wealth in India is Rs 9,83,010, with the bottom 50 per cent owning almost nothing, with an average wealth of 6 per cent of the total Rs 66,280.

The share of top 10 per cent and bottom 50 per cent in pre-tax national income has remained broadly constant from 2014 onwards. For India, the quality of inequality data released by the Government has seriously deteriorated, making it particularly difficult to assess recent inequality changes, the report states.

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