Lesser billionaires reduces inequality, but what matters is a surge in jobs

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Updated: August 1, 2019 7:31:59 AM

India’s billionaires are shrinking in numbers as per a Business Standard report. It noted that the number of billionaire-promoters has reduced to a three-year low at 71, from an all-time high of 90 in 2018.

Given how the top one per cent of India’s population is said to own around 51.4% of the total country’s wealth (according to a Credit Suisse report in 2018), a decline in the number of billionaires may be viewed as a positive trend resulting in wealth inequality reduction.

India’s billionaires are shrinking in numbers as per a Business Standard report. It noted that the number of billionaire-promoters has reduced to a three-year low at 71, from an all-time high of 90 in 2018. The report highlights that 24 Indian billionaire promoters have exited the ‘billionaire club’ as of now, resulting in a combined loss of Rs 1 lakh crore in their net worth. The exiting billionaires include names like Anil Ambani, Motilal Oswal, and Rana Kapoor. The major reason attributed to this is the decline in stocks and the overall decline of market cap—in 19 sessions after the Budget, more than Rs 12.1 lakh crore of investor wealth has been wiped out with the Sensex falling 6.08%. Apart from the collapse in the markets that caused this, another reason for the fall is that, with the government getting more serious about getting after defaulters, and setting up the IBC process, many billionaires are being cut to size.

Given how the top one per cent of India’s population is said to own around 51.4% of the total country’s wealth (according to a Credit Suisse report in 2018), a decline in the number of billionaires may be viewed as a positive trend resulting in wealth inequality reduction. But, mere reduction of the number of billionaires will not result in the poorer being better-off; what matters is economic growth that creates job opportunities for the non-rich as well. Right now, with growth stalling, and prospects for a recovery a bit dim, the prospects for a broader jobs growth look poor though.

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