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The count of billionaires in India is rising at one of the fastest clips for emerging economies, according to a report by AfrAsia Bank. In 2018, India had 118 billionaires, up from nine in 2000. That prosperity is rising is hardly a surprise, given our fast economic expansion, and it should be a matter of pride for all. But there is also reason for concern. According to an Oxfam report, India is among the worst performing countries on income disparity—as much as 77% of its wealth resides with just 10% of its population.

For any country to uplift its people, the benefits of economic growth need to flow evenly to all. Lopsided progress could leave some sections behind, resulting in social unrest. To be sure, we could simply be passing through one of the phases that any growing economy does. The so-called “Kuznets curve", for instance, hypothesizes that as an economy develops, income inequality first increases, and then decreases. India could be in the former phase. Yet, we can’t afford to be complacent. People need better access to education, health and jobs. Equal opportunity for all is a must, and that’s a function of good governance.

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