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CREDIBILITY OF THE 2020 OXFAM INEQUALITY INDEX

Context:

Indian Labour and Employment Minister accused that the 2020 Oxfam inequality index lacked clarity and did not take into account provisions of the four new labour codes.

In response the non-profit group Oxfam India said that the methodology adopted in the index is in the public domain as is the basis of India’s scoring.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues Related to Poverty, Hunger and Employment, Important reports regarding those issues)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020
  2. Highlights of the Oxfam Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020
  3. How did the other countries fare?
  4. Way Forwards suggested by the Oxfam report

About Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020

  • The Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020 is developed and delivered through a partnership between Development Finance International and Oxfam International, with inputs from independent experts.
  • The index doesn’t aim to measure inequality, instead it focuses on what each government is doing to fight inequality.
  • It shows how governments are performing in relation to each other, and how each country is improving (or not) in fighting inequality.
  • The 2020 index ranks 158 governments on their policies on public services, tax and workers’ rights, the three crucial areas to reduce inequality.

Highlights of the Oxfam Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index 2020

  • India was ranked 129 among 158 countries overall, in the 2020 Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index.
  • As per the index, India is among the world’s worst-performing countries in tackling inequality going into the pandemic.
  • India’s health budget is the world’s fourth-lowest and only half of the population has access to even the most basic healthcare services, and more than 70% of health spending is being met by people themselves, one of the highest levels in the world.
  • India spent less than 4% of its budget on health and was ranked 155th on the health spending, the fourth lowest in the world.
  • Only about 10% of the workforce in India is formal, with safe working conditions and social security.
  • Most workers earn less than half of the minimum wage and more than 70% do not have any written job contract and more than half of the workers do not get paid leave.
  • Several states had passed laws that increase daily working hours from 8 to 12 hours a day and suspend minimum pay legislation, which was devastating the livelihoods of millions of poor workers now battling hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOW THE SAARC NATIONS FARE 
Bangladesh 
Nepal 
Bhutan 
Afghanistan 
Sri Lanka 
•Health + eduatjm • 
141 
148 
142 
124 
153 
106 
19 
n 
32 
16 
130 
6 
91 
151 
116 
109 
130 
141 
113 
86

How did the other countries fare?

  • Most of the countries near the top of the index are countries with higher gross domestic products (GDP) with a greater scope to spend those revenues on public services and social protection.
  • Norway took the top spot followed by Denmark, Germany and Belgium.
  • At the bottom of the Index is South Sudan, along with Nigeria, Bahrain, Chad and Liberia.
  • Amongst the SAARC countries, in the overall rankings, India was placed below its neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Bhutan was placed below India at 146th position.

Way Forwards suggested by the Oxfam report

  • Governments must adopt strong anti-inequality policies on public services, tax and labour rights, to significantly reduce the gap between rich and poor.
  • Governments, international institutions and other stakeholders should work together to rapidly improve data on inequality and related policies, and to accurately and regularly monitor progress in reducing inequality.
  • The most urgent policy measures include a global commitment and funding to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will be free to all countries.
  • In response to the pandemic, countries must increase their efforts towards National Inequality Reduction Plans under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.
  • [SDG 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status within a country.]

-Source: The Hindu

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