Income inequality in India at its highest level since 1922, says Lucas Chancel
Oxfam's Inequality Report Has Big Flaws, But That Doesn't Narrow India's Stark Wealth Divide
Global inequality data may be skewed by debt, but Indian inequality really is as bad as it says.
Equality for what?
We must incorporate the right to equality into our political vocabulary to arrest deepening inequality
Inequality in India
Implications for society
Morality of mutual respect
Neera Chandhoke is a former Professor of Political Science at Delhi University
- High and sustained levels of inequality, especially inequality of income and opportunity can entail large social costs. Entrenched inequality of outcomes can significantly undermine individuals’ educational and occupational choices.
- Inequality of income does not generate the “right” incentives if it rests on rents. In that event, individuals have an incentive to divert their efforts toward securing favored treatment and protection, resulting in resource misallocation, corruption, and nepotism, with attendant adverse social and economic consequences.
- Income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient, which is 0 when everybody has the same income and 1 when one person has all the income) negatively affects growth and its sustainability.
- Higher inequality in income lowers growth by depriving the ability of lower-income households to stay healthy and accumulate physical and human capital.
- Income inequality dampens investment, and hence growth, by fueling economic, financial, and political instability.
- Despite being important to the electorate, inequality of income is absent from major political campaigns. There is need to make inequality as a political agenda.
- Government should work towards reducing asset inequality through redistributive land reforms but also through rationalising taxes, preventing monopoly of control over water, forests and mineral resources and reducing financial concentration.
- There is need to tackle bias against caste and gender first of all by recognising the value and dignity of all work (including unpaid work) and all workers (including those in the most difficult arduous and degraded occupations).
- Inequality can be reduced by providing greater voice to traditionally oppressed and suppressed groups, including by enabling unions and association, and making public and corporate private activity more transparent and accountable to the people generally.
- The media in India plays a role in sustaining inequality. This is becoming an urgent problem. We must take measures to reduce corporate takeover and manipulation of mass media.
- Policymakers should not forget that technology has helped in reducing some of the access barriers in India, particularly in relation to access to information. Policymakers should focus on making technology cheaper and deepening its penetration.
- As far as India is concerned, most of the public places are inaccessible to people with disabilities. As per the 2011 census, India has about 2.7 million people with disabilities, and only a handful of those enjoy education and/or employment.
- The gender inequality can be reduced by woman empowerment in genuine manner with a right based approach, rather that treating woman as a beneficiary of public schemes.
In economics, the Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation’s residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini.