Oxfam India’s latest report revealed that 84 percent of the country suffered a decline in wealth in 2022, even as the number of billionaires grew from 102 to 142. The report notes reduced state investment in public education and healthcare, along with an increased reliance on indirect rather than corporate taxes to raise revenue. 

In their 2013 book, JEAN DRÈZE and AMARTYA SEN analyze the aftermath of the liberalization of India’s economy in the early-1990s, arguing that even as the country recorded major growth, it had fallen behind in living standards. From the book:

“Contrary to the increasingly used rhetoric which suggests that India is well on its way to becoming an economic ‘superpower’, this is far from the real picture, even in terms of per capita income. In fact, despite rapid economic expansion in recent years, India remains one of the poorest countries among those outside sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank, only 15 countries outside sub-Saharan Africa had a ‘gross national income per capita’ lower than India’s in 2011: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen. India does indeed have a large gap in world living standards to overcome, as was discussed in the last chapter. What is disturbing, given the past, is not India’s comparatively low position in terms of income per head among the countries in the world outside sub- Saharan Africa, but how badly India does in terms of non-income features of living standards even within this group of poorest non-African countries.”

Link to the text.

+  “Liberalization and high growth in India drove inequality upwards after the 1980s, due to the pattern of private investment, the less interventionist state and a rather flexible labour market.” A 2018 article by Gerry Rodgers. Link. And Sripad Motiram and Karthikeya Naraparaju study why economic growth in India has not been inclusive. Link

+  “The inability or unwillingness to to collect taxes from large corporations and rich individuals has several adverse consequences.” C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh on India’s corporate tax laws. Link

+  “The picture that emerges is one of comprehensive and persistent disadvantage for the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe groups in contemporary India.” Vamsi Vakulabharanam and Ajit Zacharias on wealth inequality and caste divisions. Link….