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Income inequality in India
The World Inequality Report 2018 released by the world inequality lab says that income inequality in India has increased since economic liberalization. It is true that the rich and the middle class control a major share of the world’s resources, which consequently is not available to the poor. They enjoy higher incomes from better jobs and investments, which allow them to outbid the poor to purchase various goods. What is not true, however, is that the poor will get to enjoy many luxuries if only the rich were taxed more and the money was used to write welfare cheques to the poor, thus boosting their purchasing power. Instead, when taxes are high, people who help produce the goods that the rich and the middle class enjoy today will have less of an incentive to do their jobs as before. Workers, for instance, may no longer be attracted towards high-skill jobs when their income from such jobs is taxed at high rates. Investors too will have lesser reason to put in their money in crucial projects when their profits are taxed at high rates. In fact, India before economic liberalization faced this problem when it tried to tax its way to prosperity.
Income inequality will always exist in a market economy where people are allowed to engage in free exchange and earn incomes according to their persol capabilities. Doctors, for instance, earn many more times than plumbers and carpenters because they offer rare services. At the same time, however, the higher incomes of the rich and the middle class do not last forever in market place that is free of legal entry barriers. More people will be attracted towards professions and business that offer higher returns, which in turn will drive up the incomes of the new entrants while driving down the returns of incumbents. This is why we must look at income mobility, which reflects the number of people moving up and down the economic ladder, and ways to foster it rather than inequality. In fact, income inequality might even widen during times when there is a lot of economic mobility. To eble mobility, however, the government needs to look beyond taxes and handouts and ensure social goods – education and healthcare – for all in order to level the playing field.
Satish Kumar Sarma,
Kalyanpur, Biswath Chariali.

Role of Bollywood stars
In fact since time immemorial our film industry referred to as Bollywood produced innumerable patriotic movies where silver screen heroes are projected as patriotic heroes. The common people like me worship those reel heroes as true patriots. But in reality it is observed time and again that reel heroes are not exactly heroes in real life. Instances are galore where the so-called superstars of film world were caught doing anti tiol activities. Memory is still fresh with Sanjay Dutt’s role in 93 Mumbai blasts. Many actors and actress along with few reputed singers and film directors were caught in camera gracing private parties of notorious Dawood Ibrahim in foreign land. Now again Salman Khan is making news as he is proved guilty and sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment in black buck poaching case by the Jodhpur Court. It appears all is not well with our Bollywood industry. Of course there are people like Patekar who have proved himself to be real hero on the screen and off the screen.
Dr Ashim Chowdhury,
Ambari, Guwahati.

About the author

Ankur Kalita