A recently-published Oxfam report titled ‘Inequality Kills’ has revealed that in 2021, as the pandemic wreaked havoc on India’s economy, 84% of families in the country saw their incomes fall. However, during the same period, the number of billionaires in the country increased, going from 102 before the pandemic to a total of 142 presently.
What’s more, the collective wealth of these billionaires shot up this year to the record high of 57.3 lakh crore, lending truth to the ever-popular maxim in the country: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
The Oxfam report has also raised the popular question of whether the Modi administration is, in actuality, a government for businessmen, seeing as the wealth of two popular individuals who have often been accused of being close to the administration – Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani – has increased drastically, with the latter accounting for almost one-fifth of the total increase in the wealth of India’s wealthiest citizens.
To unpack these revelations and the many more covered in the Oxfam report and to better understand the challenges India faces going forward, The Wire‘s Mukul Singh Chauhan spoke to Pravin Jha, a professor at the JNU Centre for Economic Studies and Planning.