From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : 'The Inequality Virus' Report
Mains level : Economic implications of COVID
The ‘Inequality Virus Report’ was recently released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
About the report
- The Inequality Virus Report was released by Oxfam.
- It inquired into different forms of inequities, including educational, gender and health during the pandemic.
Highlights of the report
‘Rise’ in wealth
- Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during the lockdown to ₹ 3 trillion, ranking India after the U.S., China, Germany, Russia and France.
- The wealth of just the top 11 billionaires during the pandemic could easily sustain the MGNREGS or the Health Ministry for the next 10 years, stated the report.
- A person (no citation needed!) who emerged as the richest man in India and Asia, earned ₹90 crores an hour during the pandemic when around 24% of the people in the country were earning under ₹ 3,000 a month during the lockdown.
- The increase in his wealth alone could keep 40 crores, informal workers, out of poverty for at least five months, said the report.
Health: Only 6% of the poorest 20% have access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93.4 % of the top 20 %.
Education: Till October, 32 crores students were hit by the closure of schools, of whom 84 % resided in rural areas and 70 %attended government schools. Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims were likely to see a higher rate of dropout. Girls were also most vulnerable as they were at risk of early and forced marriage, violence and early pregnancies, it noted.
Gender: Unemployment of women rose by 15% from a pre-lockdown level of 18 %, which could result in a loss of India’s GDP of about 8 % or ₹15 trillion. Women who were employed before the lockdown were also 23.5 percentage points less likely to be re-employed compared to men in the post lockdown phase.
- It recommended reintroducing the wealth tax and affecting a one-time COVID-19 cess of 4% on taxable income of over ₹10 lakh to help the economy recover from the lockdown.
- According to its estimate, a wealth tax on the nation’s 954 richest families could raise the equivalent of 1% of the GDP.