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Growing inequality in South Asia; South Asia Inequality report – 2019

September 5 2019 SAHR 0 Comments

According to the report “Growing Inequality in South Asia” launched yesterday (03) by South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) , South Asian countries have failed to make use of the economic growth in the region to improve the lives of the poor and reduce widely prevalent inequality.

The report discusses the common problems caused by inequality and its impact on the lives of the people across South Asian countries and prepared to inform public debate on the issues of inequality to provide inputs to the development and humanitarian issues.

As per the report,

  • A Gini coefficient approaching 40.0 indicates that inequality is alarming in that society with a handful of people controlling the economy and a large majority of the population left behind and deprived of the basic services to make a meaningful livelihood. Going by the trends, it is indispensable that the South Asian countries are likely to cross this mark soon.
  • In Maldives, the richest 20 per cent earn 7 times more than the poorest 20 per cent followed by Bhutan (6.9 times) and Sri Lanka (6.8 times).
  • South Asia’s share of the global poor increased from 27.3 per cent to 33.4 per cent during the period of 1990-2013 leaving behind only Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for the largest share (50.7 per cent) of global poor.
  •  No other South Asian countries except Bhutan and the Maldives were able to reduce inequality in the years between 1980 to 2015. In India, the top 10 per cent people now hold nearly three-quarters of the total wealth.
  • The average asset holding of the top 10 per cent is almost 227 times the average asset holding of the bottom 10 per cent.Though nearly 64 per cent of Pakistanis live in rural areas, only 1 per cent of farmland owners (mostly large feudal lords) own 20 per cent of the country’s farmland and the top 20 per cent own 69 per cent of the country’s farmland. More than half(53 percent) of Nepali Farmers own less than 0.5 hectares of land, and 1.3 Million households (29 percent of the population) do not own any land at all.
  • While, on average globally, women are paid 24 per cent less than men, in South Asia, the gender pay gap is 35 per cent in term of the women with children compared to 14 pecent of women without chrildren. Across Asia and the Pacific, women perform 80 per cent of the total hours of unpaid care work, on average 4.1 times more than men.
  • Out of the total workforce, 90 per cent are in the informal sector in the region. Regionally, the rate of informalisation of labour is the highest in India and Nepal (90.7 per cent), with Bangladesh (48.9 per cent), Sri Lanka (60.6 per cent) and Pakistan (77.6 per cent). In Nepal, more than 500,000 people enter the labour force each year, but employment opportunities are scarce, and of this, 80 per cent leave the country for opportunities abroad, mostly in precarious work conditions.
  • In spite of these problems, the health expenditure in South Asia as a percentage of GDP is terribly low estimated at 3.5 per cent while a global average stands at 10.02 per cent.
  •  However, over 134 million people still do not have access to improved drinking water. It is currently estimated that between 68 to 84 per cent of the sources of water in South Asia are contaminated.

Please access the report here: