Gainer Of The Pandemic….

In the second week of April 2020, UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) claimed that about 400 million workers from India’s informal sector are likely to be pushed deeper into poverty due to COVID-19. There is no dispute that poverty in the country will worsen, though the extent may be debatable. The COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed the world economy into a tailspin, but billionaires, at least some of them across countries including India, have seen their wealth soar during the past few months, while these months have been financially painful for common people. Mukesh Ambani’s net worth rose to $79.3 billion as on August 10, making him the world’s fourth-richest person. Ambani’s wealth rose by $22 billion in this year. Ambani has slowly been shifting his focus to e-commerce, with tech giants seeking to buy a piece of India’s fast-growing digital business. While his conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd was slammed by a slump in demand for oil amid COVID-19, its share price has more than doubled from the low in March as its digital unit got billions in investments from companies including Facebook Inc. and Google. Share prices of major Indian pharma companies are on fire amidst the raging virus. Pharma tycoons like Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma, Reddy family of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, PV Ramprasad Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma, Murali K Divi of Divi’s Laboratories, YK Hamied of Cipla etc. have doubled their net worth during the pandemic. The wealth of Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel and Gautam Adani of Adani Group has also grown considerably.The obscene level of wealth inequality, which exists in our country, and the fact that during the pandemic that inequality has become much worse, have not received much attention. While millions of Indians are now facing economic desperation, the very rich are becoming much richer.The extraordinary wealth gains that billionaires have made during the pandemic come at a time when COVID-19 pandemic may double the poverty in India. Even a 25% fall in their incomes due to the pandemic will make 354 million more Indians poor.

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