London: India ranks at 147 among 157 countries Oxfam analysed for their commitment to reduce inequality, saying it was a “very worrying situation” given that the country is home to 1.3 billion people, a report revealed on Tuesday.
The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2018, published to coincide with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank annual meetings being held in Bali, analysed the countries’ policy behaviour on social spending, tax and labour rights, particularly for women.
“The index finds that countries such as South Korea, Namibia and Uruguay were taking strong steps to reduce inequality,” the report said “Sadly, countries such as India and Nigeria do very badly overall, as does the US among rich countries, showing a lack of commitment to closing the inequality gap.”
The Britain-based charitable organisation calculated that if India were to reduce inequality by a third, more than 170 million people would no longer be poor. “Government spending on health, education and social protection is woefully low and often subsidizes the private sector,” the report said.
According to the report, the tax structure looked reasonably progressive on paper but in practice much of the progressive taxation, like on incomes of the richest, was not collected. India also fared poorly on labour rights and respect for women in the workplace.
Meanwhile, Denmark topped the rankings, with one of the most progressive taxation policies in the world. The report has recommended all the countries to develop national inequality action plans to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on reducing inequality. It said the plans should include delivery of universal, public and free health and education and universal social protection floors. “Countries must also respect union rights and make women’s rights at work comprehensive, and they should raise minimum wages to living wages.” (IANS)