The regional disparity in India in terms of per capita income is the worst among the BRICS grouping, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Real per capita incomes in India are 10 times higher in the richest than in the poorest province, followed by seven times in Russia, roughly four times in Brazil and China and two-and-a-half times in South Africa. This suggests the world’s fastest-growing major economy has witnessed uneven growth across states, leading to the disparity in the income levels.
“While income per capita in the richest provinces in some BRICS economies has risen to more than half of that in the United States (notably in Moscow, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, São Paulo, Brazil), the poorest provinces are still lagging behind,” the IMF said on Monday.
However, it is important to bear in mind that using national averages may overestimate the real income level in rich cities and underestimate it in poor provinces, to the extent that there is substantial variation in prices across provinces at times, the IMF said.
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All BRICS economies enjoyed a period of strong income growth in the early 2000s due to a period of favorable external tailwinds and as some of them exited from crises.
The gap between their average income per capita (in purchasing-power-parity adjusted dollars) and that of the US narrowed significantly between 2002 and 2014, the IMF said. For instance, in China and Russia, per capita income as a share of that in the US rose about 13 percentage points and 26 percentage points, respectively, during that period. However, regional disparity within these countries still exists.