Published on Countercurrents.org, by Firdous Syed, 13 September, 2007.
Discussion on growing income disparities in India in one of the previous columns of ‘Straight Lines’, had annoyed some friends living in far away places and far detached with the realties of life. It is an irony that the middle class in India has cocooned itself into a goody goody shell of its own where it does not want to confront the hard realties of life. Just published report of the ‘National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector’ may prove an eye-opener for them by bringing them to terms with the plight of the majority in India.
The report point out that the total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a daily per capita consumption of less than Rs 20 in 2004-05 was 836 million, constituting about 77 percent of the population. Now compare this with the list of the top-100 remunerations in India. Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, tops the list. With the fiscal year ended March 2007, Mukesh Ambani took home Rs 24.51 crores. For the top-10 among the list, Mukesh Ambani, is closely followed by Sun TV CMD Kalanithi Maran and joint MD Kavery Kalanithi, whose annual remuneration stood at Rs 23.26 crores each in 2006-07. Telecom giant Bharti Airtel’s CMD Sunil Mittal ranks fourth with a take-home of close to Rs 15 crores, followed by Dr. Reddy’s Labs executive chairman K. Anji Reddy at fifth position with Rs 14.4 crores. Hero Honda chairman Brijmohan Lal Munjal and its MD and CEO Pawan Munjal are ranked at sixth and seventh positions respectively with a salary of Rs 13.99 crores and Rs 13.88 crores. Jindal Steel’s executive vice-chairman and MD Naveen Jindal is at eighth position (Rs 13.5 crores), followed by Hero Honda’s joint MD Toshiaki Nakagawa (Rs 13.44 crores) and JSW Steel vice-chairman and MD Sajjan Jindal (Rs 13.24 crores) … (full text).