India's billionaires added $308 million a day to their wealth in 2018

Pedro Gonçalves
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India's billionaires added $308 million a day to their wealth in 2018

The wealth of Indian billionaires grew by an 39% rate a day last year, adding $308m to their fortune every 24 hours, according to an Oxfam report released this Monday.

By contrast, the bottom half of the population in India only saw a 3% increase in their wealth last year, with India's poorest 10% having been in debt since 2004.  

Between 2018 and 2022, India is estimated to produce 70 new dollar millionaires every day, Oxfam said.    

The report "Public Good or Private Wealth", released ahead of the gathering of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, also said that while billionaire fortunes globally increased by 12% last year at $2.5bn a day, 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity saw their wealth decline by 11%.

"If this obscene inequality between the top 1% and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of this country," Oxfam International executive director, Winnie Byanyima, said.

India added 18 new billionaires last year, raising the count  to 119, the report noted. This is also the first time that their combined wealth has crossed the $400bn mark—"the single largest annual increase since the 2008 global financial crisis," the report said.

The world's richest man Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn and just 1% of his fortune is equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 115 million people.