Davos [Switzerland], Jan 20 (ANI): The combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget for fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24.42 lakh crore, according to a new report from Oxfam released on Monday ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting here.
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 also showed. “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,” said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is in Davos to represent the Oxfam confederation this year.
The Oxfam’s report titled ‘Time to Care’ along with India focussed supplement shows how our sexist economies are fuelling the inequality crisis — enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls.
The top one per cent of Indians hold more than four times the amount of wealth held by 953 million people (or the bottom 70 per cent of the population.
It will take a female domestic worker 22,277 years to earn a top CEO of a tech company makes in one year. With earnings pegged at Rs 106 per second, (s)he will make more in 10 minutes than what the domestic worker will make in one year.
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 Rs 19 lakh crore a year which is 20 times the entire education budget of India in 2019 (Rs 93,000 crore), the report said.
Direct public investments in the care economy of two per cent of GDP will potentially create 11 million new jobs. This would make up for the 11 million jobs lost in 2018.
Global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast. The number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade despite their combined wealth having declined just in the last year.
“The gap between rich and poor cannot be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these,” said Behar.
The report shows 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.
At the same time, governments are under-funding vital public services and infrastructure that can help reduce women and girls’ workload. For example, investments in water and sanitation, electricity, childcare, healthcare could free up women’s time and improve their quality of life.
“Governments created the inequality crisis — they must act now to end it. They must ensure corporations and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax and increase investment in public services and infrastructure,” said Behar.
“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,” he added.
Oxfam is part of the Fight Inequality Alliance, a global coalition of civil society organisations and activists. It is organising events from January 18 to 25 January in 30 countries, including India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda and Britain to promote solutions to inequality and demand that economies work for everyone.
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