The Covid-19 pandemic has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. The gap between rich, middle class, poor middle class and poor is only widening. In addition to increasing per capita income, everyone has to work on this issue. The government needs to work together to overcome this situation. Initiatives must be taken to reduce the growing instability in the country and society as a result of increasing poverty and inequality. We need to focus on reducing social and family inequality.
This problem is now in every country and the whole world. Growing inequality is further isolating the world. The richest people in the world like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are getting richer. The combined wealth of the world’s 10 richest people has grown from 700 billion to 1.5 trillion during this period. Daily income has increased by about 1.130 billion dollars. However, looking at the other side of the coin, about 200 million people in the world have fallen into the list of the new poor. The world is seeing this extreme inequality.
In the meantime, the per capita population of our country has increased again. The per capita income of the people of our country is now 2,824 US dollars. Prices of all commodities are rising at an unusual rate due to the Ukraine-Russia war and the global situation. Due to high inflation, the common man has to reduce consumption in many cases. Meanwhile, the proportion of rich people in the country is increasing even though the common people are suffering. At present, the number of millionaires in the country has crossed one lakh. Per capita income has increased and the country is becoming a developing country, these are hopeful and positive things. At the same time, we have to work on the widening gap between rich and poor.
Structural policies are chosen for the richest and most powerful in times of economic inequality. Poor people, women and disadvantaged people are the victims of racial discrimination. This inequality is ridiculously offensive. These inequalities have created violent conditions and widened the gap between people and people.
Relevant government departments, departments and ministries have to perform more important responsibilities from time to time which leads to the development of new sectors of potential. Prospective new sectors will be able to play a very strong role in achieving and advancing the prosperity of Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh are not incompetent, weak or incompetent in any way. They can work hard. Women and men of different classes and professions who used to be trapped in unemployment, poverty and helplessness, are now coming forward to set new examples of possibilities by utilising their talents, intelligence, strength, courage and hard work. Many are building their fortunes in a new way by introducing themselves as entrepreneurs. In this way, the image of different areas and towns is changing with the joint efforts of all.
Improving education, communication infrastructure, women’s education, healthcare, free book distribution to students, providing social safety net support for socially disadvantaged, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, support for divorced women, autism Played a major role. The present government has contributed to the status of freedom fighters as national heroes, shelter project, one house one farm project, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors.
The success of Bangladesh in various efforts to alleviate poverty has attracted the attention of the world. Despite these commendable achievements, a long way to go is to build a poverty-free Bangladesh, according to a report by the General Economics Department (GED) and the Bureau of Statistics (BBS). The picture that emerges in this report of the country’s poverty situation is quite worrying. It said that in a new index of poverty reduction, six and a half crore people of the country are poor. According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), there are so many poor people in the country. According to the report, 36.1% of the people in Bangladesh are victims of multidimensional poverty.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the population of the country has increased to 16 crore 93 lakhs in 2021. As such, the number of multidimensional poverties is 8 crore 51 lakhs. Prices of most commodities including rice, pulses, flour and meal have been steadily rising in the market. The people with low income and poor class are most affected by this. However, the middle class has been under pressure for a long time. The middle class is getting more and more crowded in TCB’s truck cell line to buy consumer goods at fair prices day by day. A few days ago, the commerce minister also admitted that the middle class is in a state of suffocation due to rising commodity prices. At the same time, there are many social impacts that we have to pay attention to.
Economists say declining incomes and irregularities in social security are reducing the income of the poor. On the other hand, the wealth of the rich is increasing. However, government planners believe that when a country develops rapidly, inequality naturally increases. The government is taking steps to reduce inequality for the poor, so there is nothing to worry about. But the reality is that the government’s various promises and initiatives to ensure balanced development and reduce income inequality across the country are paying off, but not visible. On the contrary, the poor people of the country are getting poorer day by day, the wealth of the rich is increasing rapidly.
Tax collection in Bangladesh as a proportion of GDP is only 9.4 per cent. It is 18 per cent in India, 16 per cent in Malaysia, 29 per cent in China, 21 per cent in the Maldives, 17 per cent in Pakistan, 12 per cent in Nepal and 15 per cent in Singapore
According to the World Bank’s 2016 report, Bangladesh ranks fifth in terms of rich-poor inequality. In this list, only India is among the Asian countries in front of Bangladesh. The other three countries in Africa are Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia. Bangladesh is also lagging behind the world’s largest economies in terms of the growth rate of the super-rich. This rate is higher than 85 major economies including United States, China, Japan and India. The percentage of millionaires has increased by 16 percent in one year.
The big problem in the economy is inequality. Taxpayers are not growing in proportion to income. The tax-to-GDP ratio, which is still in Bangladesh, could double. If the income increases, the taxpayer will increase. Although there is income inequality, the way per capita income is, it cannot be denied. However, with this increase in income, some people have become taxable anew.
According to economists and experts, it is questionable how much the real income of the people of the country has increased despite the increase in per capita income due to inequality in the country and the increase in commodity prices. 4 sectors of per capita income. Agriculture, industry, services and remittances. In other words, adding remittances to gross domestic product (GDP) gives national income. If we divide the national income by the total population, we get per capita income.
According to BBS, at present, the rate of poor people in the country is 20.5% of the total population. The poorest 6 percent. Meanwhile, despite the increase in income, tax collection has not increased. There are 83 lakh TINs in a country of 160 million people. Only 2.3 million people pay income tax. At present, tax collection is 9.4 percent of GDP, which is the lowest in South Asia. The share of large and medium industries in GDP in 2010 was 13.12 percent. In 2017, it has increased to 16.31 percent. But in 2010, the share of small industries in GDP was 3.30 percent. And in 2016 it has been only 3.63 percent. This means that the industrial sector is occupied by big businessmen.
According to the World Bank, Bangladesh is now a low-middle-income country. According to the agency, a three-year average per capita income is less than 1,046, which falls in the lower-middle-income countries. As such, Bangladesh crossed this limit long ago.Countries with a per capita income ranging from 1,046 to 12,636 are middle-income countries. If the income is from 1 thousand 46 dollars to 4 thousand 125 then it will be a low middle-income country and if the income starts from 4 thousand 126 dollars to 12 thousand 736 dollars then the countries are called upper-middle-income countries. If the per capita income is more than that, those countries are called high-income countries. By the definition, Bangladesh has come close to upper middle income.
On the other hand, the tax collection in Bangladesh as a proportion of GDP is only 9.4 per cent. It is 18 per cent in India, 16 per cent in Malaysia, 29 per cent in China, 21 per cent in the Maldives, 17 per cent in Pakistan, 12 percent in Nepal and 15 percent in Singapore.
- Hiren Pandit is a researcher and columnist