Study Reveals Disparity in Wealth Ownership, Muslims Have 9.2% Share


Hindu high castes are the predominant owners of wealth, followed by those from Other Backward Classes in the Hindu community.

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A recent study offers insights into wealth ownership among different social groups in the country, revealing stark disparities in asset distribution. The study, conducted by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, draws on data from the All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and the Indian Economic Census.

The study revealed that wealth ownership was notably low among Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, and Muslims compared to other social groups. Hindu high castes emerged as the predominant owners of wealth, followed by Hindu Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Muslims held a modest share of the country’s wealth, with Scheduled Tribes possessing the least.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks on wealth distribution and political implications have further fuelled discussions on the findings of the study. Modi has alleged that the Congress party intends to redistribute gold and the latter retaliated with a statement that the prime minister’s claims were nothing but falsehoods and incendiary rhetoric.

While detailed data on wealth and assets owned by different religious denominations remain scarce, the study provides valuable insights into the broader trends of wealth distribution in the country. It underscores the need for policymakers to address the underlying factors contributing to economic disparities among social groups.

According to the report, Hindu high castes accounted for approximately 41% of the total wealth in the country, significantly disproportionate to their share of total households. Hindu OBCs followed closely behind, holding 31% of the wealth. Muslims, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes held comparatively smaller shares of wealth, with Muslims owning approximately 8% of the total wealth.

The disparity in wealth ownership per household was also evident, with Hindu high caste households having the highest average wealth of Rs 27.73 lakh. Hindu OBC households trailed behind with an average wealth of Rs 12.96 lakh, while Muslim households averaged Rs 9.95 lakh in wealth. Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes had the lowest average household wealth at Rs 6.13 lakh and Rs 6.12 lakh respectively.

The study also delved into the ownership of gold among different social groups, revealing that Hindu OBCs held the largest share of gold at 39.1%, followed by Hindu high castes at 31.3%. Muslims possessed a modest share of 9.2%, surpassing only Scheduled Tribes in gold ownership.

These findings shed light on the complex socio-economic dynamics at play in India, highlighting the need for targeted policies aimed at reducing wealth disparities and promoting inclusive growth. As the nation grapples with issues of economic inequality, studies like these serve as crucial tools for informed policymaking and societal advancement.

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