India has been ranked 147th among 157 countries in a new worldwide index released recently by UK-based charity Oxfam International on the commitment of different nations to reduce inequalities in their populations. The ‘Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index’ described the country’s commitment to reducing inequality as a ‘a very worrying situation’.
If India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be poor and government spending on health, education and social protection is woefully low and often subsidises the private sector, the index noted.
Nations like South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay are taking strong steps to reduce inequality, while countries like India and Nigeria ‘do very badly’ overall, as does the United States among the rich, showing what the global charity describes as a lack of commitment to closing the inequality gap, according to Indian media reports.
While the tax structure in India 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, as the majority of the labour force is employed in the agricultural and informal sectors, which lack union organisation and enforcement of gender rights.
Denmark tops the index because of its high and progressive taxation, high social spending and good protection of workers. Japan is the top-ranking Asian nation with 11th rank.
The analysis, by Oxfam and non-profit research group Development Finance International (DFI), recommends that all countries should develop national inequality action plans to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on reducing inequality. (DS)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India