Hundreds of workers from across the country had gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar between August 2 and 4 in protest of the delay in payment of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wages. Among those who were present in support of the workers, was celebrated scholar and activist Jean Drèze.
Along with the payment of wages, the workers also demanded increase in their wages and better implementation of the scheme. While, Drèze highlighted the growing inequality in the country in a short video that has now gone viral. Speaking in Hindi, Drèze said, “You all know that right now the richest person in the country is Gautam Adani, who is a special friend of our prime minister. However, it’s difficult to imagine the amount of money he owns.”
Drèze then proposed an analogy to put Adani’s wealth in concrete terms. “Suppose 100 workers keep working on minimum wages until they earn as much money as Adani currently owns. How much time will it take? You might not believe the answer but the answer is, 10 lakh years,” he stated.
“Let’s do the math. If 100 people work on the wage of ₹400 per day, for 250 days a year, they will collectively earn about 1 crore rupees in one year. Adani’s wealth is $120 billion, which translates to 10 lakh crore rupees.
“So by the logic of 1 crore rupees a year, it will take 10 lakh years to earn 10 lakh crore rupees. This is the reality of our country,” ended Drèze, on a sombre note.
In April this year, Adani, founder and chairperson of Adani Group, had become the richest Asian billionaire as well as the fifth richest person in the world with a net worth of $123.7 billion.