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Tuesday, October 9, 2018 12:40:07 PM
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BD least committed to reduce inequality

Ranked 148 in Global CRI Index of 158 countries

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Special Correspondent :
Bangladesh placed at 148 in Global Index 2018 of Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI), which is meant for the country is least committed to reducing inequality.
The index is based on a new database of indicators, covering 157 countries, which measures government action on three areas found to be critical to reducing the gap are social spending, tax and labour rights.
Development Finance International (DFI) and Oxfam jointly produced the index to measure the commitment of governments to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. The index goes publicly at a time in the early hours of October 9 across the world.
The index will be discussed at the meeting of finance ministers, central bank governors and other economic leaders at the Annual Meeting of World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Bali, Indonesia this week.
"Inequality slows economic growth, undermines the fight against poverty and increases social tensions. The World Bank predicts that unless governments tackle inequality then the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 will not be met and almost half a billion people will still be living in extreme poverty," reads the editor's note.
"Across Asia, most governments have failed to improve health and social protection spending, labour policies, workers' rights and minimum wages and women's rights."
India ranked 147 while Pakistan 137, Singapore 149, Bhutan 152, Afghanistan 127, Myanmar 138 and Nepal 139.
Oxfam International's executive director Winnie Byanyima said, "Simply put, inequality traps people in poverty. We see babies dying from preventable diseases in countries where healthcare budgets are starved for funding, while billions of dollars owed by  
the richest are lost to tax dodging. We've heard from women living on poverty wages and facing hunger, seeing none of the wealth they create. None of this is inevitable. Governments often act like they're committed to fighting poverty and tackling inequality-this Index shows us if their words match their promises."
Matthew Martin, DFI Director, said, "What's most striking is how clearly the index shows us that combating inequality isn't about being the wealthiest country or the one of the biggest economy. It's about having the political will to pass and put into practice the policies that will narrow the gap between the ultra-rich and the poor. This index clearly lets us see who's doing that and who's not."
According to the index, Nigeria, Singapore, and Argentina are among a group of governments that are fuelling inequality.
It found a clear divergence between governments such as the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Georgia that are taking positive steps to reduce the gap between rich and poor, and governments that are making it worse. However, all countries, even those at the top, could be doing much more.
Other countries making progress include Georgia, which increased spending on education by almost 6 percent in 2017-- more than any other country-- and Indonesia, which increased its minimum wage by nearly 9 percent last year.
Denmark tops the Index thanks to a long history of policies that have delivered high and progressive taxation, generous social spending, and some of the best protections for workers in the world.
Countries such as Argentina and Brazil also score well because of actions taken by previous administrations.
China spends more than twice as much of its budget on health than India, and almost four times as much on welfare spending, showing a much greater commitment to tackle the gap between rich and poor.
In 2015, the leaders of 193 governments promised to reduce inequality under the Goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The report recommends that all countries should develop national inequality action plans to achieve SDG 10 on reducing inequality.
These plans should include delivery of universal, public and free health and education and universal social protection floors. Countries must respect union rights and make women's rights at work comprehensive and they should raise minimum wages to living wages.

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