In its annual inequality survey, released on the first day of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda online summit, Oxfam India said an additional one percent tax on the richest 10 percent could provide the country with around 17.7 lakh additional oxygen cylinders. Such a wealth tax on the 98 richest billionaire families has funded Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest health insurance scheme, for more than seven years.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge rush for oxygen cylinders and insurance claims in the second wave last year.
On wealth inequality, the Oxfam report further said that 142 Indian billionaires own $719 billion (over Rs 53 crore), while the richest 98 have the same wealth as the poorest 55.5 million people in the bottom 40 percent. (657 billion dollars or about 49 million rupees).
If each of India’s 10 richest billionaires spent $1 million a day, it would take them 84 years to exhaust their current wealth, and the annual wealth tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires would raise $78.3 billion a year. That’s enough to increase the state health budget by 271 percent, or eliminate the out-of-pocket health budget for households and leave about $30.5 billion.
Noting that COVID-19 began as a health crisis but has now become an economic crisis, Oxfam said the richest 10 percent have amassed 45 percent of the national wealth, while the share of the bottom 50 percent of the population is the crisis. only 6 percent.
He further said that inadequate public spending on health, education and social welfare is accompanied by increasing privatization of health and education, thus making full and safe recovery from COVID-19 beyond the reach of the common man. .
The study urged the government to reconsider the main sources of revenue, using progressive taxation methods and assessing the structural problems that allow the rich to accumulate such wealth.
In addition, the government should direct revenues to health, education and social care, treating them as universal rights and as a means of reducing inequality, thus avoiding the pattern of privatization of these sectors, Oxfam said.
“We call on the government to redistribute India’s wealth away from the super-rich to generate resources for the masses by re-introducing wealth tax and by imposing a temporary one per cent surcharge on the education and health of future generations to raise revenue. rich in health and education,” the report said.
On gender inequality, Oxfam said India’s women accounted for 28 percent of job losses and lost two-thirds of their income during the pandemic.
Further, it said the 2021 budget for India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development would represent less than half of the total wealth of India’s bottom 10 billionaires, and a 2 percent tax increase on individuals earning more than Rs 10 crore. The Ministry’s budget is a staggering 121 percent.
If the wealth of the first 100 billionaires is accumulated, they can fund the National Mission for Rural Livelihood, which is responsible for creating Self Help Groups for women, for the next 365 years.
The report on health disparities noted that a 4 percent wealth tax on the richest 98 families in India would fund the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for more than 2 years and their combined wealth was 41 percent more than the Union budget. India.
A study on education inequality found that 1 percent of India’s 98 billionaires’ wealth tax could fund the total annual expenditure of the Ministry of Education’s Department of School Education and Literacy, compared to 4 percent of their wealth tax. Can sponsor the country’s mid-day meal program for 17 years or Samagra Sikshya Abhiyan for 6 years.
Similarly, a 4 percent tax on the wealth of 98 billionaires will be enough to fund the POSHAN 2.0 mission for 10 years, which includes Anganwadi Services, POSHAN Abhiyan, Adolescent Girls Scheme and National Nursery Scheme.