Rising Wealth Inequality in India

Inequalities in wealth and income are prevalent across the globe. There is perhaps no economy in the world that is not facing the challenges relating to inequalities in varying degrees. India is also faced with the challenge of increasing inequalities across states and regions on both fronts. Every year, through many surveys, different institutions and organizations highlight the issue of inequalities in India. A lot has been done to alleviate poetry but when it comes to inequalities, policy responses fail to address them.

After having a look at the data relating to wealth per adult in India, it is evident that the average wealth in India is found to be far higher than that of the median wealth. In 2022, the average wealth per adult was $18,048 and the median wealth was $4,107 in the same year. The average wealth was about four and a half times the median wealth in 2022.

A look at the data reveals that this trend in the average wealth and median wealth is not a new phenomenon but has been there for very long. This trend clearly indicates that the measures of average wealth in India are heavily influenced by a disproportionate increase in the wealth of the super-rich of India and these numbers don't seem to tell the real inequalities in India. It should be noted that this gap which is caused by income inequality is never expressed in the per capita income of any nation.

It is known that the top 1% of wealthy individuals held 41% of the total wealth in India in 2022. It's true that poverty has gone down significantly in the last 20 years but these astonishing numbers are scary. Increasing inequality in society is neither good for the economy nor for India as a whole. Rather, inequality is very costly for any economy and before it is too late for the economy and society, the government must intervene through adequate policy measures.

Rajeev K. Upadhyay

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