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

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…