India fares poorly on Oxfam inequality survey

Ranked on the basis of policies on social spending, tax and labour rights

GN Bureau | October 10, 2018


#Oxfam   #inequality   #equality   #Economy  
Photo: GN Bureau
Photo: GN Bureau

India has been ranked 147 out of 157 countries in terms of its commitment towards reducing inequality, according to a latest report of Oxfam and Development Finance International. The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index places India along with Nigeria, Singapore and Argentina among a group of governments that are “fuelling inequality”.

The countries have been given the rankings on the basis of their policies on social spending, tax and labour rights. On these criteria, India ranks 151 on the index for public spending, 141 for labour rights and 50 on taxation policies.

Among the eight South Asian countries, India ranks sixth; although as far as taxation policies are concerned, India tops the list of South Asia countries.

Also read: India's 1% problem

This second edition of the Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality, Oxfam said in a statement Tuesday. “Sadly, countries such as India and Nigeria do very badly overall, as does the USA among rich countries, showing a lack of commitment to closing the inequality gap,” it said.

The new edition improves on the methodology used last year by including new indicators on tax dodging and violence against women and relying on more up-to-date sources of data.  The new indicator on violence against women reveals that despite the significant gains made in recent months by the #MeToo and other women’s rights movements, less than half of countries have adequate laws on sexual harassment and rape.
 
Inequality slows economic growth, undermines the fight against poverty and increases social tensions, according to a press statement issued by Oxfam.  The World Bank predicts that unless governments tackle inequality then the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 will not be met and almost half a billion people will still be living in extreme poverty.

Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s executive director, said: “Simply put, inequality traps people in poverty. We see babies dying from preventable diseases in countries where healthcare budgets are starved for funding, while billions of dollars owed by the richest are lost to tax dodging. We’ve heard from women living on poverty wages and facing hunger, seeing none of the wealth they create. None of this is inevitable. Governments often act like they’re committed to fighting poverty and tackling inequality—this Index shows us if their actions match their promises.”

Denmark tops the list whereas Germany stands second and Finland is at number three. The other top ten countries are Austria (4), Norway (5), Belgium (6), Sweden (7), France (8), Iceland (9) and Luxembourg (10).

China has been ranked at number 81. As per the index, China spends more than double on health as compared to India and four times on welfare spending which shows its commitment to tackle inequality.

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