How can India make more millionaires

India: The rich and well-educated leave the sinking ship

Environmental degradation is increasing, as is inequality and dollar millionaires - more and more of them are buying foreign passports

The latest wealth report from Credit Suisse Globalconfirms once again who has benefited most from India's 20-year economic growth: while total wealth in India quintupled to $ 6 trillion from 2000 to 2018, the number of Indian dollar millionaires quadrupled from 39,000 to 343,000.

A study by Oxfam: Between 2006 and 2015 the income of workers in India rose annually by an average of two percent - so it was "eaten up" by inflation. That of millionaires rose by twelve percent annually. In 2017, 73 percent of the generated wealth went to the country's rich one percent.

The inequality report 2019 of the South Asia Alliance for Eradication (SAAPE) came to a similar conclusion: The low-income ten percent of the Indian rural population have an average of 342 US dollars per capita assets. The top ten percent 77,591. In the cities the contrast is even stronger. There, the bottom ten percent have an average of four US dollars per capita assets, while the top 10 percent have assets of $ 197,763.

SAAPE found that this does not only apply to India: In 2010, the low-income five percent of Bangladesh still contributed 0.78 percent to the country's prosperity. Today it is only 0.23 percent. In addition, 69.5 percent of the rural residents of Bangladesh lost their land in the past ten years. One of the main reasons is land grabbing.

In previous articles on Telepolis it was shown how the owners of the shrimp farms are involved in these "raids" and how the state organizes land for its special economic zones with the help of influential groups (Bangladesh: humans eat themselves up). Bangladesh is the country with the strongest growth rate for the super-rich. India ranks fourth in this ranking.

Who pays the bill

Sushovan Dhar, lead co-author of the South Asia inequality report 2019, sees the millionaire boom not as a sign of a flourishing economy, "but as a symptom of a stronger polarization of prosperity".

And this divergence increases more and more. Although India has historically been home to the largest number of the world's poor, this phenomenon is in contrast to the highest number of dollar millionaires and billionaires it produces today.

The lack of equitable access to resources, jobs and human development is all too pervasive. Those who work hard, grow food for the land, build infrastructure, and work in factories struggle to fund their child's education, buy medicines for family members, and prepare two meals a day.

Sushovan Dhar

In conclusion, Dhar tells the other Telepolisthat the widening gap is undermining democracy and is a symptom of the takeover of the elite.

The bill for the millionaire boom is also paid by the poor in India. Through the continuous dismantling of workers' rights by the Modi government and its predecessors. 90 percent of Indian workers are now employed in the precarious informal sector - without health pension insurance or other social security.

The poorest spend 50 percent of their income on food. According to a WHO study, 68 percent of Indians have little or no access to medical care. Poor occupational safety not only makes the workers in the chrome-contaminated leather tanneries sick and unemployed at an early age. The unfiltered wastewater from cheap domestic and foreign production pollutes the rivers.

Environmental protection as a competitive disadvantage

A non-functioning state sewage system as well. The water expert Chandni Sooad, director of Waterneer in Delhi, and her colleagues see no technical problem in cleaning dirty rivers like the Ganges in four to five years, but even the builders of smart cities for the upper middle class are saving on a water purification system. The Indian economy sees environmental protection as a pure competitive disadvantage. What then supposedly modern industrial parks would look like was discussed Telepolisdemonstrated using the example of Kolkata.

The consequences of the apocalyptic environmental destruction also increasingly have to bear the poor: 70 percent of all surface water (lakes, rivers, canals) in India is contaminated. 21 Indian cities are expected to run out of groundwater next year. As of this year, no longer 14 of the most polluted places on earth are in India, but even 15. For 2017 it was stated that 1.24 million Indians died as a result of air pollution.

Those who cannot afford electricity-guzzling air filters are hit hardest: for example, life expectancy in Delhis is 10 years lower than the national average because of the pollution.

In addition, children in the capital of India grow up with smaller lungs than their contemporaries in the west.

So it is not surprising that 31 million Indians have already emigrated. Predominantly the "smart" minds, as a study shows: The Indians in the United States are the ethnic group with the highest per capita income in the country: With 100,000 US dollars a year, they also leave the "whites" behind.

The poaching of heads, even East Germany knows it

The very wealthy Indians bypass the often lengthy naturalization procedures by buying a second passport - mainly in Malta, Cyprus, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada. In Germany, according to Statista, the number of Indians living here tripled between 2010 and 2018, to 124,095 people. If the rising trend of immigration from India continues, the million mark should be reached in 15 years.

Since last year a third of all 27,000 "Blue Cards" issued in Germany to skilled workers outside the EU went to Indians, it is even to be expected that "one million" will be reached much earlier.

The economy and thus also the business-friendly parties CDU, FDP and AfD will be happy - they are relying on less state, more private individuals and a relaxation of employee protection: Highly qualified specialists for whom a 60-hour week is normal. In India they are increasingly coming from private schools, which increasingly teach what the economy needs - trade unions are not one of them.

This also does not include advocating for equal opportunities by supporting social groups that, for example, advocate more investment in freely accessible education. How it works when the "cleverest" minds are lured away, the residents in the rural areas of Eastern Germany should actually know best.

"Clean oases" and influencers

The fact that India's state of Uttar Pradesh is now ruled by the radical Hindu priest Yogi Adityanath is only one of many consequences and is not surprising. The state is one of the last places in India on the human development index (access to education is rated in the index, among other things), is religiously heated and the previous local government parties were extremely corrupt.

The capital Delhi, in which mainly the financially better off middle class has found shelter, is (still) governed by a liberal party that emerged from an anti-corruption campaign. But that will change soon, because India is "bleeding out" faster and faster.

The fact that those looking for "clean oases" who have benefited most economically from the environmental degradation is not an Indian phenomenon, as the example of the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan shows. The 700,000 inhabitant country on the eastern foothills of the Himalayas is located north of India and should be known to most because the citizens are guaranteed by law to be happy.

In Kolkata I met one of those who spread this dream story without questioning it. The influencer had spent a few weeks in Bhutan at the invitation of a travel agency. The visa cost of $ 200 a day, were spared her. In return, she wrote a buttery-smooth article about the "ideal world" in Bhutan for her followers.

When I asked her if she knew about the ethnic cleansing in Bhutan that drove 100,000 non-Buddhists out of the country 25 years ago, she said no, surprised. Nor did she know that to this day 13 percent of Bhutan's population are considered second-class citizens.

Like another influencer who was invited to Bhutan. At least he tried to justify his ignorance by saying that he had only read positive things about Bhutan: "How could it be otherwise if you only do paid whitewashing?" That Bhutan has a negative CO2 -Balance sheet is extremely commendable.

The fact that only those who have economically benefited most economically from the destruction of the planet can visit the partially untouched nature of the country is extremely worrying, because it is the mindset of many better-off people: On the small scale, sustainability is praised because it unites "me" natural vacation spot. In general, however, the old economic system is supported because it gives "me" an advantage, even if the whole thing goes to the dogs.

Something similar can also be observed in major German cities, where a selection process is also made with money, who is allowed to live where, and where the professionally successful frequent flyer is rewarded. After the workers, it is now also the people in social professions who can no longer afford the city centers - i.e. the people on whom the costs of inequality are mostly dumped and those who attend schools in North Neuk├Âlln to deal with the children of the suspended.

After a day at such a school, I told a social worker whom I was allowed to accompany in his work that the children actually all have to be given psychological treatment for a year. Since I wanted to say something nice, I added: "But the one blond boy who sat quietly on the bench in physical education seemed really nice and easy to care for," to which the social worker replied dryly: "Yes, the X is already his own. Last week he attacked a classmate with scissors ". The important work of people like the young social worker does not interest economic growth even with a small number after the decimal point.

When on September 20th demonstrations for sustainable economic activity will take place in over 100 countries around the world, the fight against inequality and the fight against environmental degradation should stand side by side on an equal footing.

Wilfred d'Costa in New Dehli sees it that way too. He is chairman of the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), an umbrella organization of 700 NGOs whose accounts are still frozen by the Indian government. The government accuses them of hindering India's progress with their actions: which means that the government considers economic growth to be the only indicator of progress.

INSAF, on the other hand, stands up against the growing social inequality of India and against environmental degradation for more economic growth: "The fight to preserve the ecological system should go hand in hand with that for better working conditions such as a fair distribution of profits," said d'Costa again Telepolis.

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