Tackling Economic Inequality - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tackling Economic Inequality

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 09, 2024 12:50 am

Reducing inequality may seem to be a difficult task, but it is not completely unachievable if efforts are made in earnest. To prevent social upheaval from impacting the social fabric of the country, it is necessary to identify the causes and tackle them effectively. The reason behind the rise of inequality in India during the last few decades can perhaps be attributed to the leniency shown towards the higher strata of society, while knowingly or unknowingly weakening the social security net for marginalised people by not sufficiently enhancing allocations to health, education and other sectors related to human capital index. As a result, today India stands 149th among 194 most unequal countries in the world as recently claimed by a report by World Inequality Lab (WIL). It further claimed that 60 per cent share of the national income is going to the top 10 per cent of people, while the bottom 50 per cent gets only 15 per cent share of it, provoking many to express the view that today’s India is more unequal than it was under the British rule. Again, the average monthly income of the bottom 50 per cent is INR 5390 per month, while the top 10 per cent earns INR 1,12,748 per month, which is 23 times more than the lower strata of society.

So to make the directives given to the state in Article 38(2) of the constitution a reality, which states that ‘the state shall in particular strive to minimise the inequalities in income and make endeavour to remove inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities….’ India should make an all-out effort to come out of such a situation wherein a handful of people will pocket the majority of wealth, leaving almost nothing for a vast section of people, who are toiling hard to help the nation amass wealth. Moreover, as per the data released by the Ministry of Agriculture, the wages for agricultural labourers have declined by 1.3 percent on average in the last few years. If we go to the root of the prevailing inequality, we will find that several neoliberal approaches contributed hugely in raising the disparity. For instance, bank loans amounting to INR 25 lakh have been written off in the last few years, and thus national wealth has been pocketed by a group of people by depriving their fellow citizens. Despite being benefited by reduction in corporate tax, the economic elite have made limited capital investments to help the country create wealth, and have opted to invest excess funds abroad looking for more profits. Due to the huge drain of national wealth, government expenditure in social sectors have been badly affected. If we can prevent the wastage of the nation’s wealth and make adequate investments in social sectors, inequalities can be addressed without burdening the nation.

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 09, 2024 12:50:45 am
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