Free Press Journal

Inequality rose to ‘historically high levels’ in India, post 1980s reforms

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New Delhi : Post the 1980s economic reforms in India and China, inequality rose to extreme level in India but only moderately in China as it invested more in education, health and infrastructure for the bottom 50 per cent of its population, general coordinator of a global report on inequality, Lucas Chancel said on Wednesday.

He said the fact that inequality trends vary so greatly among countries, even when they share similar levels of development, highlights the important role of national policies in shaping inequality. He also noted that the challenge for India is how to share growth without destroying its environment.

According to the ‘World Inequality Report 2018’, inequality rose substantially in India following profound transformation in the economy that centred on the implementation of deregulation and opening-up reforms.


“Post 1980s, inequality has risen in China and India. Inequality rose to extreme level in India and moderate level in China as China invested more in education, health and infrastructure for its bottom 50 per cent population,” Chancel said while releasing the report here.

 The report, launched globally recently, was coordinated by economists Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman and shows unequal impacts of globalisation over past 40 years. According to the report, income inequality in India has reached historically high levels. It said, “In 2014, the share of national income accruing to India’s top 1 per cent of earners was 22 per cent, while the share of the top 10 per cent was around 56 per cent.”

The report pointed out that this rising inequality trend is in contrast to the 30 years that followed the country’s independence in 1947, when income inequality was widely reduced and the incomes of the bottom 50 per cent grew at a faster rate than the national average. It noted that the temporary end to the publication of tax statistics between 2000 and 2010 by Indian government highlights the need for more transparency on income

and wealth statistics that track the long-run evolution of inequality.