India is one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Inequality Report. India stands out as a poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite, said the report prepared by the World Inequality Lab, authored by Lucas Chancel and coordinated by economist Thomas Piketty.
The top 1 per cent of India's population earned more than one-fifth (21.7 per cent) of the country's total national income in 2021, while the bottom 50 per cent made just 13.1 per cent, showed the report released on Tuesday.
In the preface of the report, Nobel laureate economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo said that India was "among the most unequal countries" in the world.
According to the report, the top 10 per cent of the population owned 57 per cent of the country's national income in 2021.
"The top 1 per cent took 38 per cent of all additional wealth accumulated since the mid-1990s, with an acceleration since 2020," the report argued.
The top 1 per cent of Indians now own 33% of the country's wealth compared to 31.7 per cent previously. The top 10 per cent own 64.6 per cent of the country's wealth, up from 63.9 per cent. The share of the bottom 50 per cent now stands at 5.9 per cent, down from 6 per cent earlier. The average household wealth in India stands at Rs 9,83,010.
"The bottom 50 per cent own almost nothing, with an average wealth of Rs 66,280," the report said.
Globally, the poorest half of the population owns just 2 per cent of the total wealth. In contrast, the richest 10 per cent of the global population own 76 per cent of all wealth. On average, the poorest half of the population own $4,100, and the top 10 per cent own $771,300.
The average national income of the Indian adult population is estimated at Rs 2,04,200. The bottom 50 per cent earns Rs 53,610, while the top 10 per cent earns more than 20 times that at Rs 1,166,520.
Globally, the richest 10 per cent of the global population currently takes 52 per cent of global income, whereas the poorest half of the population earns 8.5 per cent of it.
On average, an individual from the top 10% of the global income distribution earns $122,100 per year, whereas an individual from the poorest half of the global income distribution makes $3,920 per year.
The report further said that India's female labour income share of 18 per cent in 2021 was one of the lowest in the world. The figure was significantly lower than the average in Asia, which is 21 per cent, excluding China.
There has been an increase of more than eight percentage points since 1990 in India's female labour income share.
It also highlighted that the quality of inequality data released by the Indian government has "seriously deteriorated" over the past three years.
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