A new study on Monday showed that India's richest 1 percent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for 70 percent of the country's poorest population. In fact, the combined wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24,42,200 crore.
In its report titled 'Time to Care,' published ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, UK-based rights group Oxfam also said the world's 1 percent rich have twice the wealth of rest of humanity combined. The 2,153 billionaires on the planet have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the entire population.
The report flagged that global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast and the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade, despite their combined wealth having declined in the last year.
"The gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these," said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is representing the Oxfam confederation this year.
The report further said "sexist" economies are fuelling the inequality crisis by enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls.
"Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women," he said. "No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist," he added.
The issues of income and gender inequality are expected to figure prominently in discussions at the five-day summit of the WEF, starting Monday. The WEF's annual Global Risks Report has also warned that the downward pressure on the global economy from macroeconomic fragilities and financial inequality continued to intensify in 2019.