Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi finished his keynote address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he spoke of India’s growth and development among other things, Congress President Rahul Gandhi asked him to explain why wealth in India was concentrated in the hands of 1% of the population.
Gandhi referred to a recent report by Oxfam, a group of international organisations focused on the alleviation of global poverty. The Global Inequality Report said 73% of the wealth generated in India in 2016-’17 went to the richest 1% of the population while the poorest 50%, or 67 crore people in India, saw their wealth rise by just 1% in the same period.
“Dear PM, welcome to Switzerland! Please tell Davos why 1% of India’s population gets 73% of its wealth,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders praised Modi’s speech as a “statesman’s analysis” that was “unique and distinct”.
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to attend the Davos summit in 20 years, spoke about terrorism, climate change and protectionism too. He quoted the Sanskrit saying “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” to talk about how the entire world is a family that must come together to face “major challenges”.
Minster of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said the prime minister had “raised the country’s stature by explaining the relevance of Indian thought, philosophy and cultural values and a solution to global challenges”.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the speech a “statesman’s analysis of the global challenges and the unfolding of India story (sic)”.
“It was not the speech of a political leader but that of a statesman, a global leader,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He added that Modi’s message said, “we are here not only to speak but what we speak is transformed into action”.
While Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan called it an “enthusiastic speech” about how “Indian ethos can be a global role model in today’s conflicting times”, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said Modi wanted to “create a new world at the same time we create a new India”. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababau Naidu called it a “historic day” for India.