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Minal Khatri

IWB Blogger

New Report Shares India’s Actual Commitment Towards Eradicating Poverty

  • IWB Post
  •  July 17, 2017

 

Oxfam, a worldwide advocacy group that fights against poverty and injustice, has released a new data that reflects another unfortunate side of our country.

According to its new report, India stands 132nd out of 152 countries on an index that shows the commitment of a country towards eradicating poverty and inequality. The index was created on the basis of the government’s spending on social, taxes and labor rights. These attributes have been taken in accounts, since “strong positive progressive actions by governments in these three areas have played a key part in reducing the gap between rich and poor.”

The data is based on 21 action points where the Government’s spending is measured. These include health and education, the share of tax revenue in the GDP, the share of tax exemptions, minimum wage and maternity benefits. India ranks at the 149th position when it comes to social spending, whereas 91st on progressive taxation and 86th on labor rights.

The report of India says, “Government spending on health, education and social protection is woefully low… The tax structure looks reasonably progressive on paper, but in practice, much of the progressive tax is not collected. On labor rights and respect for women in the workplace, India also fares poorly, reflecting that the majority of the labor force is employed in the agricultural and informal sectors, which lack union organization.”

While India is far behind the other countries in the world, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Germany were at the top. Nisha Agarwal, Oxfam CEO says, “Restrictive labor market policies (example hiring and firing by a firm that employs more than 100 workers) are one of the factors that have prevented the labor intensive manufacturing sector from growing to scale in India… In India, we are not creating many formal sector jobs and most workers in the informal sector have low productivity, low wages and low social security and legal protection.”

With other measures, the report has also focused on discrimination against women. When it came to India, they found massive biased results that revealed the poor state of the country. Agarwal says, “During the last 10 years, the labor force participation rate of Indian women, already very low compared to other Asian countries, has fallen from 37 to 27 percent. As we prosper, we are becoming more controlling and stopping women from stepping out to earn their own incomes. India is one of the few countries in the world where there is a break in a woman’s career when she gets married unlike in other parts of the world where women withdraw for brief periods during childbirth… In the corporate sector, many listed companies seem to find it hard to hire even one competent woman for their board, a mandatory under the Companies Act…While the bulk of farming work is done by women, they own only about 10-15% of the land that they farm… It is this systematic discrimination against women and girls that is both a cause and a result of the inequality that drives poverty.”

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