According to a recent report released on Monday, the richest 1% of Indians own more than 40% of the nation’s overall wealth, while the remaining half of the population collectively owns just 3% of the country’s wealth.

Rights organization Oxfam International claimed that taxing India’s top ten earners at 5% would generate enough revenue to send all children back to school. This statement was made during the release of the India supplement to its annual inequality report on the opening day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting here.

“A one-time tax on unrealized profits from 2017 to 2021 on just one billionaire, Gautam Adani, could have collected $1.79 lakh crore, enough to hire more than 5 million elementary school teachers in India for a year,” it said.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s (Rs 86,200 crore) and the Ministry of Ayush’s (Rs 3,050 crore) projected funds for the fiscal year 2022–2023 are more than 1.5 times the funds that a one-time tax of 5 percent on the country’s top 10 billionaires (Rs 1.37 lakh crore) would raise, it continued.

In terms of gender disparity, the research said that women only made 63 paise for every rupee a man made. The disparity is much more pronounced for Scheduled Castes and rural employees, who between 2018 and 2019 earned just 50% of urban workers’ salaries while the former earned 55% of what the privileged socioeconomic groups received.

“Taxing the top 100 Indian billionaires at a rate of 2.5 percent, or taxing the top 10 Indian billionaires at a rate of 5 percent, would almost cover the total sum needed to bring the children back to school,” the report continued.

While government sources like NSS, Union budget papers, parliamentary questions, and so on have been utilized to support claims made throughout the research, secondary sources like Forbes and Credit Suisse have been used to examine wealth disparity and billionaire wealth in the nation.

According to Oxfam, billionaires in India have witnessed a 121 percent increase in wealth, or 3,608 crore a day in real terms, from the start of the epidemic until November 2022. According to Oxfam, India’s overall number of billionaires rose from 102 in 2020 to 166 in 2022.

The country’s marginalised groups, including Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, women, and workers in the informal sector, continue to suffer in a system that protects the survival of the wealthiest, according to Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar.