If in financial year 2014-15, the number of income tax paying individuals with annual income over Rs 1 Crore was 88,649, in 2017-18 it rose to 1,40,139, as per reports that came out the other day.
This means the number of multi-millionaires has risen by 60% over three years, and it is sure to elate the central Government. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi can cite that this growth is thanks to the various economic reforms and development programmes of the government. In a similar manner, when financial publications like Forbes release from time to time its list of global billionaires, the rise in number of billionaires in India also gets celebrated as big progress.
However, all this claim about growth is glossing over the fact that it has a serious flip side. As per the World Bank human capital index of 2018, the place of India is extremely pathetic. In the index prepared based on domains like child survival, school enrolment rate and healthy growth, 157 countries were covered. India's ranking in that was a pitiable 115, even behind neighbours Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. As revealed by Oxfam, a confederation of 20 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) of 90 couontries, India ranks 147 in the matter of ending economic inequality. Only when we consider the fact that just 157 countries are in the list that we can realise how pathetic and shameful our position is. Oxfam points out that when countries lilke South Korea and African nations like Namibia and Uruguay take strong measures to end inequalities, India like Nigeria, lag behind in taking such measures. The report also mentions that for health protection, China's annual budgetary allocation is double that of India.
At a global level, the Sustained Development Goals (SDG) aims at eradicating hunger from the planet by 2030. This project, launched in 2006 is moving at a very slow pace. Although the issue of refugees now numbering over 6 crores is one reason for this, India does not face such a crisis. Still in the poverty index comprising 119 countries, our position is 103. Remember, we with 31.3 points, have below us only the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which experience the worst hunger in the world. As per World Bank statistics of 2016, one in every five Indian is poor. And within the country, the seven poorest states are UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Odisha excepted, all the other six states are ruled by the BJP. No one would argue that BJP governments are entirely responsible for the sad state of affairs. But Narendra Modi government, which had assumed power after launching an intense campaign that Congress and UPA government were responsible for povery, unemployment and corruption, has entered its fifth year in office. And if in spite of that there is not even a modicum of improvement in state of things, the question is who has to bear the burden of the sin.
This is the balance sheet of the country of five years of plundering the country by focusing only on inciting hatred and communalism, turning the back to even the primary needs of human beings, sharpening bellicosity and plundering the exchequer in the name of defence spending. But even in this eleventh year, the Sangh parivar is busy celebrating the unveililng of the colossal statue of Sardar Patel built in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 2060 crores. If any one asks for whom is this global, gigantic statue – which cannot satiate the hunger ever of a single child - he will just be dubbed anti-national. It is for every Indian to ponder whether we should continue with this tragedy, if he has not entirely forsaken his faculty to think that is.