Delhi and Punjab richest states, Jain wealthiest community: National survey
Delhi and Punjab richest, with more than 60% of households in the top wealth quintile
This information has been used to classify all households into wealth quintiles. Those in the lowest quintile would the poorest 20%, while those in the top would be the richest 20% of the lot.
The report shows that poverty is predominantly a rural phenomenon in India. 29% of rural India belongs to the bottom quintile, while the figure is just 3.3% for urban India. This means that 29% of the rural population has wealth levels equivalent to bottom 20% of the country’s population.
The results for states and religious/caste groups are even more revealing. Among major states, people in Delhi and Punjab are the richest with more than 60% of their households in the top wealth quintile. Bihar is the poorest with more than half of the households in the bottom wealth quintile.
Jains are the richest religious community, with more than 70% of their population in the top quintile. There isn’t much difference between Hindus and Muslims and they are very close to the national distribution of wealth. Upper castes have almost double the share of households in the top quintile compared to any other caste group. Scheduled Tribes are the worst-off section in terms of wealth.
High levels of income and wealth inequality are a matter of great concern in India. NFHS-4 statistics on disparity in wealth-holdings across various categories tell us that there cannot be a one size fits all policy if the government is serious about addressing this problem. The survey is lacking in the fact that it does not reveal the concentration of wealth in the hands of super rich who constitute just one per cent of the population.