Income inequality in India has reached historically high levels as the top 0.1 per cent of earners increased their total wealth more than all of those in the bottom 50 per cent combined, says a study. Economic inequality is widespread in India and has been growing substantially since 1980s, the study by the World Inequality Lab said. “The income inequality in India has reached historically high levels, as the top 0.1 per cent of earners have captured more growth than all of those in the bottom 50 per cent combined,” it said. This rising inequality contrasts to the 30 years following the country’s independence in 1947, when income inequality was widely reduced and the incomes of the bottom 50 per cent grew at a faster rate than the national average, it said.
The report was coordinated by economists Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman and shows unequal impacts of globalisation over past 40 years. The research relies on the most extensive database on the historical evolution of income and wealth inequality. It aims to contribute to a more informed global democratic debate on economic inequality by bringing the most up-to-date and comprehensive data to the public discussion.
In 2014, the report said, the share of national income captured by India’s top 1 per cent of earners was 22 per cent, while the share of the top 10 per cent of earners was around 56 per cent. Lucas Chancel, general coordinator of the report, emphasised, “The fact that inequality trends vary so greatly among countries, even when countries share similar levels of development, highlights the important role of national policies in shaping inequality. “For instance, consider China and India since 1980: China recorded much higher growth rates with significantly lower inequality levels than India.”