Indian Study Reveals Wealth Disparity: Muslims Own 4.4% of Assets Despite Being 14% of Population

The Indian Institute of Dalit Studies' study reveals stark wealth disparities among social groups in India, sparking calls for inclusive economic policies to address persistent inequalities and promote social cohesion.

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Indian Study Reveals Wealth Disparity: Muslims Own 4.4% of Assets Despite Being 14% of Population

Indian Study Reveals Wealth Disparity: Muslims Own 4.4% of Assets Despite Being 14% of Population

A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies has shed light on the significant wealth disparities among different social groups in India. The data reveals that despite making up 14% of the country's population, Muslims own only 4.4% of the total assets.

According to the study, Hindu high castes possess around 41% of the nation's wealth, while Hindu OBCs (Other Backward Classes) hold 31%. In contrast, Muslims, Scheduled Castes (SCs), and Scheduled Tribes (STs) hold only about 8%, 7.3%, and 3.7% of the wealth, respectively. The wealth distribution is disproportionate to the population size of these groups, with Hindu high castes owning a significantly higher share of wealth compared to their proportion of households in India.

The average household wealth also varies greatly among the different social groups. Hindu high caste households have the highest average wealth at Rs 27.73 lakh, followed by Hindu OBCs at Rs 12.96 lakh. Interestingly, Muslim households averaged Rs 9.95 lakh, surpassing both ST (Rs 6.13 lakh) and SC (Rs 6.12 lakh) households in wealth ownership.

Why this matters: The findings of this study emphasize the persistent wealth inequalities in India and the need for policies that promote inclusive economic growth. Addressing these disparities is vital for fostering social cohesion and ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their religious or social background.

The study's revelations have sparked a discussion about wealth distribution and calls for redistribution, especially in the context of recent remarks made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi, who leads the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been accused of using hate speech against Muslims, referring to them as "infiltrators" who should not receive the country's resources. The main opposition party, the Congress party, has filed a complaint with the Election Commission, alleging that Modi's remarks violated the code of conduct that prohibits candidates from engaging in activities that aggravate religious tensions.

Critics argue that India's tradition of diversity and secularism has come under attack since the BJP came to power a decade ago, with accusations of fostering religious intolerance and violence against minorities. The election commission has the power to issue warnings and suspend candidates for violations of the code of conduct, but it has not yet taken any action in this case.

The study's findings have also prompted discussions about the need for wealth redistribution policies in India. Sam Pitroda, the Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress, has called for the implementation of an inheritance tax law similar to the one in the United States. Pitroda criticized Prime Minister Modi's remarks on the Congress manifesto, calling him a "pathological liar" and expressing disappointment over the PM's comments equating the manifesto to the "Muslim League" document.

As the debate surrounding wealth inequality and the treatment of minorities continues, the Indian government faces the challenge of addressing these issues and ensuring that the country's economic growth benefits all segments of society. The study's findings serve as a reminder of the need for inclusive policies and the importance of fostering a society that values diversity and equal opportunities for all.

Key Takeaways

  • Hindu high castes own 41% of India's wealth, despite being 14% of population.
  • Muslims own only 4.4% of total assets, despite being 14% of population.
  • Hindu OBCs hold 31% of wealth, while SCs, STs, and Muslims hold 7-8%.
  • Hindu high caste households have avg. wealth of Rs 27.73 lakh, Muslims Rs 9.95 lakh.
  • Study highlights need for inclusive economic policies to address wealth inequality in India.