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  Business   Economy  10 Oct 2018  India ranks 147th in efforts to cut inequality

India ranks 147th in efforts to cut inequality

PTI
Published : Oct 10, 2018, 12:46 am IST
Updated : Oct 10, 2018, 12:46 am IST

Clubbed with Nigeria, India features in the bottom 10 of the Oxfam index.

The second edition of the annual index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality. (Photo: PTI)
 The second edition of the annual index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality. (Photo: PTI)

London: India has been ranked among the bottom 10 nations in a new worldwide index released on Tuesday on the commitment of different nations to reduce inequalities in their populations.

UK-based charity Oxfam International’s ‘Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index’ ranks India 147th among 157 countries analysed, describing the country’s commitment to reducing inequality as a “a very worrying situation” given that it is home to 1.3 billion people, many of whom live in extreme poverty. “Oxfam has calculated that if India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be poor,” the index notes.

“Government spending on health, education and social protection is woefully low and often subsidises the private sector. Civil society has consistently campaigned for increased spending,” it adds.

The second edition of the annual index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality.

However, countries such as India and Nigeria “do very badly” overall, as does the US among rich countries, showing what Oxfam describes as a lack of commitment to closing the inequality gap.

In reference to India, the index finds that while the tax structure looks reasonably progressive on paper, in practice much of the progressive taxation, like that on the incomes of the richest, is not collected.

India also fares poorly on labour rights and respect for women in the workplace, reflecting the fact that the majority of the labour force is employed in the agricultural and informal sectors, which lack union organisation and enforcement of gender rights.

The index is based on a new database of indicators, now covering 157 countries, which measures government action on social spending, tax and labour rights — three areas found to be critical to reducing the gap.

The index is topped by Denmark, based on its high and progressive taxation, high social spending and good protection of workers. “However, recent Danish governments have focused on reversing all three of these to some extent, with a view to liberalising the economy, and recent research reveals that the reforms of the past 15 years have led to a rapid increase in inequality of nearly 20 per cent between 2005 and 2015,” it warns.    

Tags: oxfam, denmark, labour rights, respect for women