From 2008 to 2009, India nearly doubled its number of billionaires according to Forbes' Rich List to 52. In 2011, the country increased its tally to 55 billionaires.
The combined net worth of India's 100 wealthiest people in 2009 was $276 billion. More than China's 100 wealthiest with $170 billion.
According to a Reuters article, they also account for one-fourth of India's GDP. Let that sink in... 100 people make up about 25% of India's economy.
Before the collective Indian chest swells to bursting-point with pride, consider that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculates India's per capita GDP in 2010 at $1,265. Less than Yemen with $1,282.
The combined net worth of 1 million average Indians is $126.5 billion - still less than half the top 100 individuals.
But that's just the White Economy...
According to data provided by the Swiss Bankers Association, Indians have $1,456 billion in Black Money stashed in Swiss Accounts. That's more than the rest of the world combined!
Who do you suppose those Indians are? A report by Global Financial Integrity confirms that "High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and private companies were found to be the primary drivers of illicit flows out of India's private sector." (I'd posted about this earlier.)
I don't begrudge the rich. But I do have something to say to the ignoramus thumping his chest about living in the "largest democracy": "You don't count, buddy!"
India's economic growth story is not - I repeat, NOT - about you. At best you'll be held up as one of the bottomfeeders benefiting from the "trickle down".
If you are naive enough to believe that the government is of, by and for the "common man", I pity you.
Look up the list - if you can find a comprehensive one - of individuals and bureaucrats who accompanied the Finance Minister of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee for discussions and negotiations with US bureaucrats and businessmen. India will open up its Financial and Retail sectors. And the US may widen the H1B visa allotments to Indian companies.
Look up the list of private business people who went with Manmohan Singh on his visit to Addis Ababa. You have no idea what our government is complicit in. Read this Open Letter to the People of India from an African.
You think reforms and liberalisation is to give YOU a better standard of living? Far from it... According to the Human Development Index, India ranks next to East Timor. And incredibly, the Indian States that have the least industrialisation and the least investor-friendly environment are the best off.
The same report on India's Black Economy by Global Financial Integrity adds: "In the post-reform period of 1991-2008, deregulation and trade liberalization accelerated the outflow of illicit money from the Indian economy."
There's one more thing... Some 58% of India's Members of Parliament are multi-millionaires in Rupee terms. And you find the same inverse relation between MPs' wealth and Human Development Index, states-wise. And the average declared assets (yes, just the declared wealth) of MPs grew 186% over a 5-year period from 2004.
Do you still think democracy is what you thought it meant?
Worst stock photo of the week. - I found this particular affront (or paean to cornball) on Ad Age, illustrating an article felicitously entitled, "TV NETWORKS MEET ON THOR, NEW EFFORT TO ...
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