India had two billionaires in mid-1990s. Today it has 46. Yet nearly 70% of Indians live on less than two dollars a day.
So as a corollary, a fundamental question arises: are entrepreneurs and their heirs alike reaping outsized rewards from India’s fast-growing economy? Economist Aditi Gandhi of the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research says they are: Indian billionaires’ wealth equals about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product, more than twice the proportion of GDP claimed by billionaires in China, South Korea and other developing countries.
Inequalities in India have undoubtedly widened since the country embarked on major economic reforms in 1991. Inequality leads to a vicious circle, with unequal opportunities creating income disparities, that in turn lead to dramatic differences in future opportunities for families.
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