Oxfam Report: The Inequality Virus

The Oxfam has recently published its report titled “The Inequality Virus”. In its report, the Oxfam finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepen the existing inequalities in India and across the world.

Key Findings of the report

  • As per the report, the pandemic has stalled the economy that in turn has forced millions of poor Indians out of job.
  • However, the richest billionaires in India have increased their wealth by 35 percent during the lockdown. Thus, India has been ranked at sixth in the world following the US, China, Germany, Russia and France.
  • The report calculates that, India’s top 100 billionaires have increased their fortunes by Rs 12.97 trillion. Such amount is enough to give around 95000 Rupees for each one of the 138 million poorest Indians.
  • Report further highlights that, 170,000 people lost their jobs every hour in the April 2020.
  • India’s large informal workforce accounts for 75 per cent of the 122 million jobs that were lost. Informal workers had lesser opportunities to work from home.

Impact on Education

As education made a shift to online platforms, India witnessed the digital divide that worsened the inequalities. As per the report, 3 per cent of the poorest 20 per cent of Indian households had access to a computer while 9 per cent had access to the internet.

Impact on Education

The report finds that, India does not report case data desegregated by socio-economic or social categories. Thus, distribution of disease among the communities is difficult to find. But India has become the world’s second-largest country with respect to the number of COVID-19 positive cases.

Impact on Poor communities

Covid-19 disease also impacted the poor communities who were living in crammed areas. This is because of poor sanitation. As per the report, only 6 per cent of the poorest 20 per cent households had access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation as opposed to 93 per cent of the top 20 per cent households in India.

Impact on gender disparity

As per the report, unemployment rate among women have risen to 18 percent from 15 per cent before COVID-19. This could result in a loss to India’s GDP by 8 per cent or $218 billion.

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