The OM Foundation

Imbalance between rich and poor during the Covid Pandemic

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” It has
been rightly observed by Plutarch that the mere existence of perennial policies which do not
cater to the evolution in society become egregious to the interest of people. The summum bonum
of a society is to provide means of living to people, which makes it essential to percolate
practices that are not in consensus with the progress in society. The pandemic has created an
ab-lib shift in resources because of which pernicious inequalities between masses have increased.
According to the report of International Monetary Fund1, due to lack of concord in economic
resources, health care and lack of education amid pandemic the gap between rich and poor has
increased wherein in January 2020 the IMF had forecasted that there shall be a 3 percent growth
in income has not seen a poignant fall of 3 percent in global income.

The pandemic induced with poverty has created an egregious socio-economic and digital divide
which has led to inequalities in class, income, education, etc. For example, at the onset of the
nation-wide lockdown, education suffered as there was an unplanned shift in education from
classroom teaching to a online mode of teaching which created a despotic and sporadic digital
divide amongst income groups wherein students of government school which did not have
technical support suffered. If the stigma attached to economic inequalities due to the pandemic is
bifurcated then the main stakeholders are class divide on the basis of income of people, the
dilemma between the rights of citizens and people (refugees), health care workers, small
business owners, etc.

A coin has two sides and similarly the consequences of pandemic are two-fold, while it has taken
away opportunities of many but it has created vast opportunities for big businessmen. A study
from Oxfam India states that India’s richest 1 percent people hold more than four times wealth
which is held by 953 million people which means that India’s 74% of total wealth is held by the
top 10% of population.2 In the era of technological advancements and changes in the social
stratification of the country like India, lack of separate legislation has led to multidimensional
structural exclusion wherein the virus does not discriminate but its impact does. The government
announced a 260 billion dollar fiscal budget to deliver targeted benefits to its most severely
affected citizens. However, the systemic social and financial exclusion of refugees at the hands
of national response plans remained unaddressed due to India’s overburdened healthcare system
and paucity of resources in the face of an unexpected crisis.3 Further, one of the mains groups
that have been affected by the pandemic are the small business owners, teachers, accounts,
professionals, etc. The state must protect the rights of its people and provide basic necessities of
living and also the idea of universal basic income can be provided to the people of lower income
……………………………………………………….By Arihnat Singh
1 The pandemic will leave the poor further disadvantaged-IMF, (May 5, 2021 10:30),
2 Wealth of India’s richest 1% more than 4-times of total for 70% poorest: Oxfam, (May 5, 2021, 11:30),
3 Raj, V. Covid-19 and Refugees in India: A Tale of Exclusion and Counter-Exclusion (May 5, 2021,10:40)

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