Rich vs Poor: What can Policymakers Do?

According to Oxfam Survey, the richest 1% cornered 73% wealth generation in 2017. The alarming unequal distribution of wealth needs to be addressed very soon through policy action otherwise the day is not far when it would be incurable.

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How beautifully the Sholem Aleichem has portrayed;

“Life is a dream for the wise,

A game for the fool,

A comedy for the rich,

A tragedy for the poor”

The tragedies of the poor would be an understatement even if we try to portray with stark reality and especially in a developing country like India, according to Oxfam Survey, the richest 1% cornered 73% wealth generation in 2017. This huge drift in the wealth accumulation is not a surprise Last year this hoarding was 58%. The whooping rise of 20.9 lakh crores in 2017of this 1% almost equalled the total budget of the central government in 2017-18. A country having 82 billionaires (₹63 Billion) in 2017, according to Forbes magazine. These are billionaires in dollar terms. Imagine the number and list of billionaires in Indian currency! What an irony when we see the below facts –

  • 6 million people are below poverty line (As of May 2014 stated by World Bank)
  • 58% population is living below $ 3.10 per day (We talk of high-living standards)
  • 172 million people are living $ 1.90 per day (We talk of Starbucks and KFCs)
  • 7% children are malnourished (Condition of a country dependent on agriculture)
  • 56% rural households have no access to electricity (Indeed! They are saying we are developing very fast)
  • 26% of population is still illiterate (And we are talking of IT and spaceships. Even the 74% are literate, no data for educated)
  • 67% employed earn less than 10k per month (That’s what we pay to our workforce and dream of becoming superpower)
  • 58% graduates are unemployed (Thumbs up for the Indian policy makers and educationists!)
  • 62% postgraduates are unemployed (What an education system!)

These are some of the few statistics which remind us the true face of our policymakers and politicians who tirelessly boast and claim of India being on the path of development and modernity. Oxfam survey is the indication of India’s development model where rich is getting richer and poor is getting poorer. We talk about democracy, equality and higher standard of living which hardly mean anything to common mass. In our pseudo-capitalist economy, our politicians run their political propaganda and appeasement policy to make the millionaires and billionaires happy on the cost of the welfare of common masses. At the time when a common man has to stand in queue for a simple loan, the big sharks get political support to gulp large public loans. Many of the Indian billionaires are also due to the sheer patronage of this so called public welfare schemes. The government which with every passing day is bending the rules for the richer and stiffening the rules for the poorer sections of the society. Obviously the common masses never expect from the government to make them millionaires and if government is providing them a standard set of living conditions it is performing its duty not a favour as the New York Times Bestseller, Dodinsky says, Equal distribution of wealth does not mean we all should be millionaires- it means no one should die of hunger.

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The biggest irony of India is that after seventy years of Independence, we are still not able to provide the basic needs of life. Can’t our policymakers inspite of beating around the bush have some crystal clear policies. Well, they do make good policies, The Policy Times calls for the following policy actions :

  • Attaining 100% education (We have to discard the appeasement policy of 100% literacy)
  • Creating benchmarks of universities (Not just fulfilling the formality of opening colleges and universities)
  • Opening of industries on a massive scale (We have to get over with our political propaganda of just inauguration at the time of election which never gets completed)
  • Increasing tax slab on millionaires and billionaires (They have already profited a lot from the previous taxation policies)
  • A strict vigilance on corruption (Everyone knows how much corruption has harmed the nation)
  • Propelling the corporates to lower their profit margin on essential goods (They already have reaped in bounty with skyrocketing margins)
  • Ending multiple elections (They suck already a lot of money of the government)
  • Halting the mad race to host Olympics and World cups (The common mass needs housing and shelter than our medals)
  • Cleansing of political scenario (The politically motivated riots and fasts are just not only a blot but also draining whooping amount of money on a frequent basis)
  • Modernization of agriculture (This still serves as a bread and butter to millions)
  • Forcing the giant corporates to pay their employees a paycheque as per international standards (They have already sucked a lot of blood of their employees)

If these are achieved, we will be able to dream of equitable society. Otherwise the day is not far when the words of notable American economist Henry George would be true; “What has destroyed every previous civilization has been the tendency to the unequal distribution of wealth and power”.