India has become the 6th wealthiest country in the world with a total wealth of $8,230 billion. China and US topped the list of the wealthiest countries in a report by “New World Wealth”.
Last year, India was the 7th wealthiest nation in the world.
According to the report, the United States dominates the position with $64,584 billion in the year 2017. China followed with the total wealth amounting to $24,803 billion while Japan obtained the third place with its total wealth amounting to $19,522 billion.
What is total wealth?
The total wealth of a nation amounts to the private capital of every individual residing in that particular country or city. It encompasses an individual’s overall assets including property, cash, equities or business interests. Government fund is wholly excluded while calculating the total wealth of a country.
India’s place in the list
A notable point mentioned by the report is that India became the best-performing wealth market globally in 2017 with 25% rise in its total wealth from $6,584 in 2016 to $8,230 in 2017.
The country hiked a record-breaking 160% in the past decade, i.e. from $3,165 billion in 2007 to $8,230 billion in 2017. The report further noted that India has over 3,30,400 individuals with $1 million or more in net assets (HNWIs). India was given 9th position for the number of High Net Worth Ranking Individuals while the US once again topped the list with 50,47,400 HNWIs.
India and its billionaires
119 billionaires call India their home, making India ranks third globally in that category. Also, there are around 20,730 multimillionaires in India, proving there is no shortage of wealth in India (though the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few). The wealthiest 10 markets of the world which includes countries such as India, China, USA, Japan etc. had quite a healthy growth rate over the past year the reason for which is attributable to substantial global stock market gains. The report also added that MSCI world index was up by 23% and Dow Jones (DJIS) was up by 26% during the year thus adding to the wealth of the wealthy countries.
Rich get richer, poor get poorer
India placing 6th among the wealthiest nations in the world isn’t something worthy of celebration when the gap between the rich and the poor remains one of the highest globally. A recent report by Oxfam revealed that in 2017, 73% of India’s wealth was pocketed by its richest 1%. Wealth does not equal progress when the rich get richer and the poor, poorer; and this gap is only increasing with time. In 2016, 60% of India’s wealth was owned by its richest 1% and in 2015, this stood at 53%.
Last year in November, the Paradise Papers were leaked, revealing huge amounts of wealth hidden only by a certain section of the Indian population. Even so, India ranked 19th among 180 countries with offshore tax havens.
India continues to grapple with issues of growing unemployment, corruption, malnutrition, poor healthcare, food shortage and gender gap.
The Oxfam report on India’s income inequality urged the government to encourage labour sectors like agriculture and other industries that will create more jobs. It also pointed out the need for adopting measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing a higher tax on the super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.
Unless the poor are empowered, India’s growing wealth is meaningless. India is becoming rich, but Indians remain poor.