Inequality – Mother of all problems


Home to 17% of the world’s population India also has the largest number of people living below the poverty line as defined by the World Bank so this is important for us to grapple with.


In many parts of the world there is a long-standing belief in the theory that if a country can develop economically, those who are poorest will eventually share in the trickle-down effect.  Here in India, in a recent report on inequality, authored by Oxfam, that theory has been seriously questioned.
India is one of the powerhouses of economic development and yet at the same time has growing inequality.

Home to 17% of the world’s population India also has the largest number of people living below the poverty line as defined by the World Bank so this is important for us to grapple with.  While inequality decreased substantially between the 1950’s and 1980’s it has increased since that time. In whatever way we look at the figures it is clear that despite a growing middle-class we have huge inequalities that need addressing. In 1991 it was estimated that the top 1% of the population held 17% of the country’s assets yet by 2012 this had risen to 28%.  During the same time period, it was estimated that the bottom 50% of the population had their ownership of assets reduced from 9% to 5.3%. And, as we all know, inequality is more than economics, it is about access to services and to opportunity.

To quote from the Inequality Report – “The story of rising inequality in India is as much about rising income inequality as it is about inequality in non-income dimensions such as education, health, nutrition, sanitation and opportunities.” It is the lack of opportunity more than anything else that fuels the rural-urban migration and in its wake creates huge amounts of vulnerability to human trafficking. If a teenage girl knows that she can find productive work in her village context following her education she is not going to be lured away from her home.

For many of those we work with, an opportunity is all they need. They have the drive, desire and will to learn and to work, all they need is a door of opportunity and that is what we seek to provide. Inequality is not just something we should simply accept as inevitable, it is actually the bedrock of so much exploitation and oppression. If issues of inequality were addressed a lot of the evils around us, of which human trafficking is just one, would also be reduced if not eradicated.  Inequality leads to vulnerability and it is in the midst of vulnerability that people with evil intent can flourish. Oxfam’s report highlights the growing levels of inequality and it is up to all of us to do something about it.

Andy Matheson is the former International Director and current Advisor for Oasis India.

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Dear Partners & Supporters,

As we are heading towards the end of 2020, it’s good to look ahead and think about what the new year may unveil.

But first, let’s take a quick look back. 2020 was quite a year for all of us. We are grateful that we were quickly able to respond to the COVID-19 situation and provide relief aid to over 3000 affected families across Chittoor, Chennai, Mumbai/Thane and Bangalore. We also went ahead with the Mukthi Bike Challenge and even launched the Madras Fuse online portal. The year also brought with it other big challenges but with the boards’ complete support Oasis India is geared for compliance as we enter the new fiscal year.

I would like to start with a huge thank you to all members of the committee of management, sub-committee, and society members – Thank you for all your wonderful contributions towards the growth and success of our mission. We strive to put our communities at the heart of everything we do and we sincerely would like to thank all our sensitive donors, front line staff, the many change agents and volunteers for their trust, support and excellent cooperation with us.

All our staff love what they are doing and our beneficiaries can feel that in every interaction. I wish that we continue to be challenged by our mission – to work in an inclusive, integrated, empowering and comprehensive way so that all people experience wholeness and fullness of life, and guided by our Vision – for community, a place where everyone is included making a contribution and reaching their fullest potential.

I wish you and your families a joyous, peaceful and restful festive season and all the best for the New Year 2021.


Mangneo Lhungdim
Executive Director
Oasis India