The world’s richest 26 billionaires own as much wealth as the 3.8 billion people in the bottom half of humanity, while India’s top 9 billionaires own as much as the country’s poorest half, according to an annual report by anti-poverty campaigner Oxfam, which looked at inequalities in 2018.
Globally, billionaires’ fortunes rose by 12% to $900 billion, or $2.5 billion a day in 2018, whereas the poorest half of the world’s population saw their wealth decline by 11%, Oxfam said in its study, released before the start of the five-day World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. In India, the wealth of billionaires rose by over one-third from $325 billion to $440 billion, which translates to Rs 2,200 crore a day, Oxfam said.
The world has over 2,200 billionaires, which is more than twice as many as in 2008. India has 119 billionaires, after adding 18 in 2018. While billionaires’ wealth grew by 12%, the wealth of the 3.8 billion in the poorest half of the world population dropped by 11%. In India, the richest 1% added 39% to their wealth, while the poorest half added just 3%.
Richest of the rich
The Oxfam report states that his wealth, at Rs 2.8 lakh crore, is more than the combined revenue and capital expenditure of the Centre and states for medical, public health, sanitation and water supply.
The world’s richest man, owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn. Just 1% of his fortune is the equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people, Oxfam states.
Source: Oxfam report & PTI