Oxfam, a group of international organisations focused on the alleviation of global poverty, on Monday said that the richest 1% of the world’s population accumulated 82% of the increase in global wealth during 2016-’17. In its Global Inequality Report, the group said the share of wealth of the world’s richest 1% rose from $1,32,884 billion (Rs 8,482 lakh crore) to $1,40,509 billion (Rs 8,968 lakh crore) from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017.
The richest 1% of the world’s population had over 50% of the world’s wealth in 2017. On the other hand, the poorest 50% of the population held only 0.96% of the global wealth, the report said.
The report said that there were 2,043 billionaires in the world in March 2017, with a total wealth of $7.7 trillion (Rs 491 lakh crore). As many as 233 more individuals became billionaires between April 2016 and March 2017, the highest in any year, the report added. The Oxfam study also concluded that in 2017, it took only 42 billionaires to exceed the wealth of the bottom 50% of the population, compared to 380 in 2009.
India added 17 billionaires from April 2016 to March 2017, Oxfam said, taking the total number to 101. The wealth held by Indian billionaires increased by Rs 4.89 lakh crore, which Oxfam said was sufficient to finance 85% of the budgets of all states on health and education.
The report added that 73% of the wealth generated in India in 2016-’17 went to the richest 1% of the population. But the poorest 50%, or 67 crore people in India saw their wealth rise by just 1% over the same period. The report said that the richest 10% of India’s population holds 73% of its wealth.
Oxfam surveyed 70,000 individuals across 10 countries to understand perceptions of income inequality. It said that in India, 84% of the respondents “agree or strongly agree” that the gap between the rich and poor in the country was too big. At least 73% also felt that this income inequality needed to be addressed urgently. 52% of Indians also agreed that taxes on the richest 1% of the population should be increased.