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.

About CRI-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.

Key Findings

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

  • The index shows clearly how the majority of the world’s countries were woefully unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has magnified and increased inequalities across the world.
  • The poorest people are least able to isolate, to protect themselves. They are more likely to have pre-existing poor health, making them more likely to die.
  • Women are among the hardest hit economically, as they are more likely to be in precarious work and are also 70% of the world’s health workers.
  • The crisis has also exacerbated racial inequality across the globe.
  • But, there have been significant expansions in health and social protection spending across the world.
  • Many countries have expanded worker rights and protections, particularly through short-time working, sick leave and unemployment benefit. But there have also been sharp rises in unemployment and underemployment, and increased attacks on workers' rights.

Role International Financial Institutions in Response to Pandemic

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disbursed US$88bn in support to 80 countries and has saved 28 countries $251m in debt servicing payments.
  • The World Bank has pledged US$160bn in emergency funding, mobilized US$6bn for its COVID-19 Fast Track Facility.


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.