Widening disparity


The destitution of the common people is accompanied by increasing wealth of a very small segment of the elite population. There were two billionaires in India in the mid-1990s, worth a combined total of $3.2 billion. By 2012, there were 46, with a total net worth of $176.3 billion. Total billionaire wealth to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose from around 1% in the mid-1990s to 22% at the peak of the boom in 2008. All billionaires in India are linked to corporate activity. 43% of the total number of billionaires accounts for 60% of billionaire wealth. Concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the corporate sector and the elites provide them all the means to influence the government decision making and policies. The Cash-for-Votes scandal and the leaked Radia tapes show that big corporate houses not only control the government but also play a major role in the formation of government and allocation of ministries.