Oxfam says methodology of its report on inequality in India is available in the public domain

Non-profit group Oxfam India on Tuesday said India had scored low on labour rights performance, unemployment and inequality in wages in its Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2020, a day after Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar told the Lok Sabha that the ranking and methodology lacked clarity.

Asked about India being ranked 151 out of 158 countries in terms of workers’ rights, Mr. Gangwar said on Monday that the ranking had not taken into account provisions under the new labour law codes.

Responding to the Minister’s statement as reported in The Hindu, Oxfam India’s lead specialist against inequality Anjela Taneja said in a statement: “The methodology adopted in the index is in the public domain as is the basis of India’s scoring. India has actually done reasonably well on two labour data points in the index: women’s rights in the workplace and India’s minimum wages. India also ranks 19th in the world on the tax pillar of the index.”

With regard to the labour pillar in the index, she said India had scored low on labour rights performance, unemployment and inequality in wages. She said data from the Centre for Global Workers’ Rights at Penn State University and the International Labour Organisation was used.

On inequality in wages, she said: “This is based on the Gini coefficient of labour income which is based on estimates of the distribution of labour income by decile, modelled by the ILO. As Oxfam India’s inequality report highlighted, it would take an unskilled worker 10,000 years to make what India’s richest man would have made in an hour during the pandemic.”

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