The report noted that billionaires like Gautam Adani, Shiv Nadar, Cyrus Poonawalla, Uday Kotak, Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal, Radhakrishan Damani, Kumar Manglam Birla and Laxmi Mittal working in sectors like coal, oil, telecom, medicines, pharmaceutical, education and retail increased their wealth exponentially since March 2020 when India announced world's biggest COVID-19 lockdown and economy came to standstill.
The report, released on Sunday ahead of the World Economic Forum's virtual meeting of political and financial leaders, typically held in Davos, Switzerland, lays out the virus' disparate impact around the globe. "This gross asymmetry of power and resources is not just a moral argument, but a practical question.The increase in the wealth of the richest person in India during pandemic could keep 40 crore informal workers out of poverty for at least 5 months".
The findings, according to a new report from Oxfam Canada, say the pandemic has the potential to increase economic inequality in "almost every country at once", something that's never been done since the charitable organization's records began over a century ago. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken over two million lives worldwide so far, will be remembered for how inequality rose in nearly every country on earth at the same time and also showed that no state, no institution and no individual can take on such cataclysmic fights alone.
The report cited Forbes data on the 10 richest people, saying they have seen their fortunes grow by $540 billion since March 18, 2020.
A survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, shows that 87 per cent of respondents expect an "increase" or a "major increase" in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.
Contrary to some references to the pandemic as "the great equaliser" - since it affected people in one way or another, irrespective of their socio-economic position, the Oxfam report points out the rich, on the whole, were able to escape the worst impacts on the virus.
"However, most of India has faced loss of livelihoods", it said.
The report also shows that the pandemic is worse for women and is widening the gender inequality. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly.
"Economic hardships and growing anxiety during emergencies often fuel violent and abusive relationships directed towards women and the pandemic has been no exception".
Health inequality is also highlighted with many more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, as well as the poorest, more likely to die of Covid-19 around the world but also here in the UK.
Finally, it cited infection and mortality rates globally being much higher in poorer areas - noting that in some countries mortality rates in poor areas were double that of the richest areas.
Oxfam said the pandemic increased all kinds of inequalities.
Oxfam argued in its report that fairer economies are the key to a rapid economic recovery from Covid-19.
She asks governments around the world to seize this opportunity to protect the planet by taxing the rich protecting workers. "This needs to be a global effort by governments to ensure everyone has access to a COVID-19 vaccine; financial support if they lose their job; investing in public services as well as low carbon sectors to create millions of new jobs".