Sainath takes up a zero TRP subject, again, and manages to shock
Sainath takes up a zero TRP subject, again, and manages to shock

New Delhi: Even as discussions or debates about poverty are considered non-TRP subjects, and research papers and newspaper articles on the issue are now out-of-fashion, P Sainath remains valiant in his efforts to keep the issue in the headlines. This week, the intrepid scholar-journalist was valiant once again, and once again, Delhi's media thwarted his efforts. 

Sainath's well attended lecture made no news in the mainstream media.

Among the leading moral conscience keepers of Indian journalism, Sainath shocked his audiences at the Durgabai Desmukh Memorial Lecture 2017 at the India International Centre, when he said "the top one per cent of Indian society owns 58.4% of India's total household wealth," but then more was coming.

India, he added, now beats the US, when it comes to inequality. "The household wealth owned by top one per cent of India is higher than any other country in the world, barring Russia."

"The USA, universally acknowledged as an unequal country lags behind us, with their top one percent owning only 42.1% of that nation's wealth,” he said.

Clearly, in India, "inequality is growing at much faster pace” than anywhere in the world.

"Shockingly, just in two years, the top one percent of India added over 9% of total household wealth to their ownership,” he said.
The Indian top one percent owned 49% of Indian wealth in 2014, compared to 36.8% in 2010, as per the Credit Suisse global wealth data.

When Sainath speaks, shocks do not stop. When he digs deeper into the moral matrix of India’s economy, conscience is something found missing. The wealth of the bottom 10% in India, for the first time, turned "negative” in the past one year.

"The ratings tell us that for the first time the wealth of bottom 10% turned negative in India, falling from 0.1 to minus 0.7%," he said.

This suggests that those whose liabilities were anyway ahead of their assets are sinking further into debt, he added. 

The same data suggests that in those 12 months, the top one per cent added more 5% of India’s household wealth to their kitty.
Top 1% of Indian society now owns 58.4% of India's total household wealth. We are ahead of the US now in inequality. Top 1% of US citizens now own only 42.1% of that country's wealth. We are now in a race with Russia, not with the US.
"It is not limited to bottom 10% alone. Even the 20% above them not own over than 0.7% of India’s wealth. In simple terms, the bottom 30% of India owns zilch,” he pointed out. That, clearly, explained why debates and discussions on poverty are low TRP subjects.

Not leaving anyone in doubt that moral economy of India's elite has gone to the dogs, the Ramon Magsaysay award winner said it was shocking to know that India ranks fourth in the Forbes list and 131st in the Global Human Index of the United Nations.

"The socio-economic census data of 2011-12 depicted that 75% of rural household main bread winner earns less than Rs 5,000 a year. That year, we had 55 $billionaires from India in the Forbes list. This year the list goes up to 101, the highest we ever had. Isn't this happy news to share?" Sainath said, his audience fidgeting as sarcasm dripped.

The author of ‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought,’ a rather rare best-seller on the subject, spoke about the farming crisis, the misdoings of media, social upheaval and a host of other things prevailing in India, but then failed to make into next day's media headlines - a sign that he hasn't lost his moral compass.
*(The story is a Punjab Today exclusive simply because except for our correspondent who attended the lecture, no one else chose to report it. – Ed.)
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged. 
— Team PT

Comment by: Anju huria

This is because in the name of reserved category,millionares like our worthy president get all the benefits.The poor are being pushed into the corner even if they are the lowest in caste heirarchy


Comment by: Anju huria

This is because in the name of reserved category,millionares like our worthy president get all the benefits.The poor are being pushed into the corner even if they are the lowest in caste heirarchy


Comment by: Adess Singh

The founding puoneers of capatalism had clearly warned that those societies that follow the runious path of unfettered inheritance shall be stuck in the quick sand of corruption and purpousful mis governance. Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan or for that matter China and Russia like India flow unfettered inheritance and all suffer from pathological levels of inequality and polarization of wealth and oppertunity. Thomas Pickety in his book Capitalbin tge 21st Century also explains this.
Rationalizatio. Of inheritance policy is the most pertinant requirement of our society, yet it is never discussed in public.
We are clearly an oligarchy as of now, and will slip into 'kleptocracy' (the rule odf the thugs).
Send me your email id, i will send u very relavant short notes on this critical and fundamental topic.
Unfettered inheritance makes our most popular leaders into kniving thieves and makes our steel frame bureaucracy very mall8wble and ductile.
Unfetterd inheritance creates economic black holes thwt devour societies ajd businesss alike
Unfettered Inheritance makes us into 'dynastic slaves'



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