Oxfam Inequality Report – 2019

Oxfam Inequality Report 2019: Nine Richest Indians Own Wealth Equivalent to Bottom 50% of the Country While the top 1% own 51.53% of national wealth, the bottom 60% own merely 4.8%

Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India said:

” It is morally outrageous that a few wealthy individuals are amassing a growing share of India’s wealth while the poor are struggling to eat their next meal or pay for their child’s medicines. If this obscene inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of this country.

The report reveals India added 18 new billionaires last year raising the total number of billionaires to 119. Their wealth crossed the US$400 billion (INR 28000 billion) mark for the first time. It rose from US$325.5 billion (INR 22725 billion) in 2017 to US$440.1 billion (INR 30807 billion) in 2018. This is the single largest annual increase since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

  • Getting the richest one percent in India to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth could raise enough money to increase government spending on heath by 50 percent.
  • Last year, wealth of top 1 percent in India increased by 39 percent whereas wealth of bottom 50 percent increased at a dismal 3 percent.
  • Globally, tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations have also been cut dramatically. For example, the top rate of personal income tax in rich countries fell from 62 percent in 1970 to just 38 percent in 2013. The average rate in poor countries is just 28 percent.
  • India’s combined revenue and capital expenditure of the Centre and State for Medical & Public Health, Sanitation & Water Supply is Rs 2,08,166 crore (INR 2082 billion), less than the wealth of India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani at Rs 2,80,700 crore (INR 2807 billion).

Here is the executive summary of the report – Click Here

Here is the link to the full report – Click Here

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds

Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting

Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one of the most dangerous after war reporting.

On every continent reporters have been attacked for investigating concerns about abuses related to the impact of corporate and political interests scrambling to extract wealth from the earth’s remaining natural resources.

These resources end up in all manner of products – from mobile phones to pots and pans – with consumers largely unaware of the stories behind them.

The study was produced for Green Blood, a reporting project whose aim is to continue the reporting of local environmental journalists who have been forced to abandon their work.

Pinterest
 Goldmining in Tanzania. Photograph: Handout Acacia Mining plc

Led by Forbidden Stories, a group of 15 media partners, including the Guardian, El País and Le Monde, have come together to shine an international light on the way these activities affect local environments and communities.

“Environmental issues involve some of the greatest abuses of power in the world and some of the greatest of concentrations of power in the world,” said Bruce Shapiro, the director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

“I’m hard put to think of a category of investigative reporters who are routinely dealing with more dangerous actors. Investigative reporting on the environment can be as dangerous a beat as reporting on narco smuggling.”

Click Here to read the full story

Who Really Owns NDTV?

In 2009, a Mukesh Ambani group entity took control of NDTV under the guise of a loan agreement. The plan was to find a buyer in “three to five years”. No buyer has been found so far and effectively, NDTV is controlled by the Ambanis
In July 2009, Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt Ltd, a company associated with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) gave a loan of Rs350 crore without any interest to NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, his wife Radhika Roy and their private holding company RRPR Holding Pvt Ltd. This was a bailout-cum-takeover in the guise of a loan.
The sole purpose of the loan was to repay funding obtained by Roys obtained from a bank, which is barred by the market regulator. Under the agreement signed on 21 July 2009, the Roys were to issue a convertible warrant that equals to 99.9% of the “fully diluted equity share capital of the borrowers (the Roys and RRPR Holdings) at the time of conversion” and the Ambani group agreed to limit their aggregate shareholding to 26%.
Let us unravel for you this wonderfully structured “loan document” which effectively allowed Ambani to take over the company with a few key clauses.
Click Here for more