Gap between rich and poor widens

Kathmandu, May 7 :

Overall inequality in income between the poor and the rich is getting higher in Nepal in comparison to Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, states a survey conducted by a senior expert of Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), a government undertaking.

Nepal’s total national income in monetary terms comes to be about Rs 496.745 billion annually. However, the richest last 10 per cent of people’s group have become ahead in capturing huge share of income that stands at about 40 per cent. Worse is poorest first ten per cent that has received only 2.1 per cent of the total national income, says Dr Rudra Suwal, deputy director at the CBS.

While calculating the income inequality, he has categorised per capita income in 10 groups. The richest 10th group’s share in the national income in the fiscal 1995-96 was only 34.9 per cent which has increased to about 40 per cent by the end of the year 2003-04. The research paper entitled ‘International Statistical Comparison and the Development Strategies’ was presented by Dr Suwal recently at the Tokyo International University, Japan.

As per the study, the social and economic progress has not been evenly distributed among the Nepalis households. According to Dr Suwal, the nominal average household income grew by more than 80 per cent from 1995-96 to 2003-04. During the same period, overall per capita income has also increased from Rs 7,690 in 1995-96 to Rs 15,162 in 2003-04.

However, the rate of disparity is observed higher in 2003-04 compared to the year 1995-96, states the survey. In the study, income distribution has been presented at a regional level too. Per capita income in the mountain areas stands at Rs 12,295, hills Rs 18,290, Terai Rs 12, 975, Urban (Kathmandu Rs 24,816, and others Rs 25,420), rural areas about Rs 12,000, which constitutes east mountain, west mountain, east Terai and West Terai.

There is a vast difference in the distribution of income among the geographic region, states the report. Kathmandu is found most unequal region in terms of income distribution.

According to the study, adult literacy and child literacy rate is very low in poorest groups, while the same rate is highest in the richest 10th group. First 10 per cent poorest people do have only 19.4 adult literacy rate and 26 per cent child literacy rate.

However, the last 10th richest group who comes in the 10 per cent have over 80 per cent adult literacy rate and 92 per cent child literacy rate. There is a big disparity between the rich and poor in the adult literacy rate and child literacy rate due to increased disparity in their incomes.