Despite Growing Number Of Billionaires, India One Of The Least Charitable Nations
India ranked at the 82nd spot among 128 countries for generosity over the last 10 years, as per the 10th World Giving Index. India was the least generous among the seven South Asian countries in the Index, behind Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“Up to a third of Indians helped a stranger, one in four donated money, and one in five gave their time volunteering,” the report said pointing at India’s low ranking in the index. The report recommended more formal mechanisms of donating to charity.
The report, published in October included surveys of 1.3 million people in 128 countries over the last nine years, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation, a UK charity.
The ranking is based on three parameters– helping a stranger, donating money, and volunteering. India ranked 134th in 2010 and the 81st in 2018. India’s scored 26 per cent in the World Giving Index, less than half of United States (58 per cent) which came top in the list. China with a score of 16%, stood at the bottom of the index and also recorded the lowest score for all three measures. New Zealand, on the other hand, was the only country to appear in the top 10 on all three measures.
The rise in rankings of Sri Lanka and Myanmar is attributed to their culture of giving embedded in Buddhism. Similarly, Indonesia, where the majority of the population follows Islam, giving is closely tied to the religious obligation of giving, ‘zakaat’.
The improved rankings are also an outcome of countries’ economic development. “It is not a surprise that these Asian countries have been increasing due to their rising economic prosperity,” Ingrid Srinath of the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University said.
“Only 69% of low-income families in India donated or sponsored help in the last 12 months. Lower-income families are anyway less likely to participate in charity as compared to families with a household income of more than Rs 1.7 lakh per month, 82% of whom donated,” the report stated. “The study does not take into account for the degree of giving from an individual, only whether they are giving or not,” Meenakshi Batra, Charities Aid Foundation India said.
“In India, there is a strong culture of regularly helping and assisting each other,” Batra said. More Indians (64%) said they give money directly to people and families in need or to a church or religious organisation (64%) than to a non-profit or charitable organisation (58%), as per the India Giving Report by the CAF Global Alliance.
“There is potential for organised non-profit organisations to provide more formal options of giving,” Ben Russel of Charities Aid Foundation said.
Rich Contribute The Least
In 2017, the wealth with India’s richest 1 per cent increased by Rs 20,913 billion. This was equivalent to the central government’s total budget that year, as per the report by Oxfam India. In 2018, India added 18 new billionaires raising the count of billionaires to 119.
The contribution of India’s richest to philanthropic activities has grown at a slower pace than the increase in their wealth, as reported by IndiaSpend earlier this year. India’s lowest World Giving Index score in the last six years, coincided with its reporting a record number of 121 billionaires, the third-highest number in any country, behind China and the United States.