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‘India’s wealth rises, as does disparity’

November 22, 2016 11:05 pm | Updated 11:26 pm IST - MUMBAI:

POOR SCORE: 96% of the adult population remains at the base of the wealth pyramid. File photo: K. Murali Kumar

POOR SCORE: 96% of the adult population remains at the base of the wealth pyramid. File photo: K. Murali Kumar

The total quantum of wealth is rising in India but so is the disparity between those who have wealth and those deprived of it.

A report on global wealth by Credit Suisse said that the uneven growth has left 96 per cent of the adult population in India at the base of the wealth pyramid. Further, wealth in India is dominated by property and other real estate that make up 86 per cent of its estimated household assets, according to the global financial services major.

The study said that wealth in India in local currency terms increased 5.1 per cent in 2016 but due to adverse currency exchange movements, India’s household wealth fell by 0.8 per cent to $3 trillion in dollar terms. The annual growth of wealth per adult in rupees has averaged 6 per cent between 2000 and 2016.

Uneven growth

“While wealth has been rising in India, growth is uneven. About 96 per cent of the adult population remains at the base of the wealth pyramid with wealth below $10,000, and a small fraction of the adult population (0.3 per cent) has net worth of more than $100,000,” stated the report.

Interestingly, the number of millionaires remained flat at 1.78 lakh with $973 billion in wealth. Among these, ultra high-networth individuals increased by 5.2 per cent to 2,260, including 1,040 with more than $100 million.

The number of millionaires is projected to increase by 9.5 per cent in the next five years to 2.8 lakh in 2021, says the report. Meanwhile, personal debts are estimated to be 9 per cent of gross assets in India, much lower than in most developed countries, it added.

Globally, the overall growth in wealth remained limited in 2016, continuing the trend that emerged in 2013 and contrasting sharply with the double-digit growth rates witnessed before the global financial crisis of 2008.

The total global wealth in 2016 edged up by 1.4 per cent or $3.5 trillion to a total of $256 trillion, a rise in line with the increase in the world’s adult population.

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