Skip to main content

Inequality index: India ranks 132nd among 152 countries because of "woefully low" health, education spending

By Rajiv Shah
A top international report has said that India fares “very badly, ranking 132 out of 152 countries in its commitment to reducing inequality – a very worrying situation given that the country is home to 1.2 billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.”
Compared to India, among the neighbours, Nepal ranks 81, Sri Lanka 138, Pakistan 139, and Bangladesh 141. Sweden ranks No 1, followed by Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Finland, Austria and France. United Kingdom ranks 17, South Africa 21, United States 23, Russia 85, and China 87.
Insisting that “unless they take concerted action now”, India and other countries ranking equally badly “will fail to end poverty and fail to make sustainable economic progress that benefits everyone in society”, the report, prepared by well-known UK-based NGO Oxfam in collaboration with the US-based Development Finance International, says that if India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be poor.
Called Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) report, it says, the Government of India spending on “health, education and social protection is woefully low”, adding, “The tax structure looks reasonably progressive on paper, but in practice much of the progressive tax is not collected.”
It further says, “On labour rights and respect for women in the workplace, India also fares poorly, reflecting that the majority of the labour force is employed in the agricultural and informal sectors, which lack union organization.”
Thus, among 152 countries, India ranks 149 in spending on health, education and social protection; 91 in progressive structure and incidence of tax; and 86 in labour market policies to address inequality 86, with the overall CRI ranking averaging at 132.
Pointing out that India is one of the countries whose actual ‘incidence’ of tax – who actually pays tax – is very different from what it appears on paper, the report says, “India collects just 16.7% of GDP, Indonesia collects 11.9%, whereas South Africa manages to collect over 27%.”
Pointing towards the type of inequalities that exist in India, where it has been compulsory since 2013 for firms to publish their the chief executive officers (CEOs) pay ratios, the report says, the country’s “CEO of the top IT firm brings in 416 times the salary of his company’s typical employee.”
Coming to the gender gap, the report says, “Women make up the majority of the world’s low-paid workers and are disproportionately concentrated in the most insecure roles in the informal sector”, the situation extremely bad in Asia.
“In Asia 75% of working women are working informally, lacking access to basic benefits such as sick pay, maternity leave or pensions”, the report says, adding, “Women are often paid less than men for doing the same job, despite working longer hours; for instance, in India, the wage gap is 32.6%.”
The report comments, “The inequality crisis is not inevitable and that governments are not powerless in the face of it. A number of governments, in recent as well as more distant history, including Sweden, Chile, Uruguay and Namibia, have shown they can buck the trend of growing inequality by taking clear steps to reduce it.”
It adds, “Unfortunately, many other governments, including Nigeria and India, are failing to make use of the tools available to them to tackle this global scourge. Unless they take concerted action now, they will fail to end poverty and fail to make sustainable economic progress that benefits everyone in society.”

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
In the latest article, Inequality index: India ranks 132nd among 152 countries because of "woefully low" health, education spending, the figure for Sri Lanka seems wrong. I have visited that country twice (and hope to go there a third time some day) and I have found the literacy levels are 100%, awareness of health and hygiene is high, there are no beggars, and all in all, they are a friendly, honest, and cheerful people.
I must confess that I haven’t seen the whole country as my visits have been only to the west coast but this is where the majority of the population lives. The Tamil-dominated area might be poor in some respects and this may bring down the levels of the whole country but I don’t think it can be worse than India.

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.