The Commitment To Reducing Inequality Index-2020
- On 7th October, 2020, Oxfam International along with the Development Finance International(DFI) published the third(previous two in 2017 and 2018) edition of The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index(CRI) Index-2020.
- It is a multidimensional index which ranks 158 countries on their policy performance to reduce inequality.
- It primarily measures progress on tackling economic inequality, i.e. the gap betweenrich and poor
- The index has three pillars and 19 different indicators, each of which relates to one policy area that has been found to be critical in reducing inequality: public services (previously known as spending); taxation; and labour.
World Specific Findings
- Most of the countries near the top of the index are Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) countries.
- With higher gross domestic products (GDP), they have much more scope to raise progressive tax revenues because they have more citizens and corporations with higher incomes.
- Likewise, they have greater scope to spend those revenues on public services and social protection.
- Norway tops the 2020 CRI Index, notably scoring top on labour rights.
- At the bottom of the Index is South Sudan, which is new to the index and comes close to last on all three pillars.
- Vietnam’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been among the best in the world.
- The low ranking also reflects a failure of policy setting by the government for its citizens: for instance, South Sudan spends six times more on the military and on debt servicing than it does on vital public services, and it collects only around 15% of the tax that it should. This leads to failure to deliver on even the most basic of services.
India Specific Findings
- Ranked at 129 in the index, India’s health budget is the fourth lowest in the world.
- Just half of its population have access to even the most essential health services, and more than 70% of health spending is being met by people themselves, one of the highest levels in the world.
- So far India’s response to COVID-19 has been woeful, with huge numbers of deaths and millions of people forced into destitution.
Fighting Inequality in the Time Of Covid-19
Role International Financial Institutions in Response to Pandemic
Urgent Government Action to Radically Reduce Inequality
- In response to the coronavirus pandemic, governments must dramatically improve their efforts on progressive spending, taxation and workers’ pay and protection as part of National Inequality Reduction Plans under SDG 10.
- Spending on public services and social protection needs to be increased and its impact on coverage and inequality improved.
- There also needs to be systematic tracking of public expenditures, involving citizens in budget oversight.
- Workers need to receive living wages and have their labour rights better protected.
- Women and girls especially need their rights to equal payand protection against sexual harassment and rape to be enforced including for vulnerable workers.
Inequality Policy Impact and Analysis
- Governments, international institutions and other stakeholders should work together to rapidly improve data on inequality and related policies, and to regularly monitor progress in reducing inequality.
Coming Together to Fight Inequality
- Governments and international institutions should come together in the fight against increasing inequality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The most urgent policy measures include a global commitment and funding to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will be free to all countries and expansion in social protection to protect workers in lower-income countries.
- The international community must support them with Special Drawing Rights,debt relief and global solidarity taxes.