Vice President Md Hamid Ansari termed income inequality as one of the major risks threatening the cohesiveness of countries. Addressing the gathering at an event organized by the national daily ‘The Hindu’ group in Bengaluru on Friday, the Vice President stressed that the concept of “justice and fairness are tied to the idea of equity in development”
“To view rising inequity as merely an inconvenient truth in the saga of India’s shining future would therefore be a folly. Without equality, there is unlikely to be much of a future, let alone a shining one,” he said.
Adding that inequality also breeds economic inefficiencies and limits productivity, the Vice President also told in his address that “The richest 1% in India owned nearly 60% of the country’s total wealth, with top 20% commanding 80%” and “the bottom half by contrast collectively owns only 2%”.
Highlighting the economic disparities in the developing world, he also stressed that since the financial crisis of 2007, inequality has shown more increase.
“In developing economies like India and China, while incomes have risen for many, inequality, in both wealth and income have also risen significantly,” Vice President Ansari said.
Arguing the implications of inequality on the socio-political and economic fabric of the society, he added further that “more worryingly, rising inequality is seen as a contribution cause for the rise of authoritarian leaders, often with a divisive agenda fuelled by sectarianism, xenophobia and nationalism”.
“The occupy movement and the Arab Spring were both fuelled by growing public despair at sharp inequalities and growing unemployment,” he said.
In his address, he further underlined that some extremist movements too have its roots in economic disparities.
“In India, the growing threat of left extremism has its root in economic deprivation and inequality in access to resources,” the vice president said.