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If The World Economy Is Facing Recession, Why Is Billionaires’ Wealth Shooting Up?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

On 22 March 2020, Prime Minister Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown amid the rise of coronavirus. The lockdown affected the nation in myriad ways including a sharp rise in unemployment, stress on the supply chain, the collapse of the tourism and hospitality industry and many more.

In June 2020, Global Economic prospects released data which showed that the world economy was facing its worst recession since World War II and that the growth was expected to shrink by 5.2% in 2021. India is facing a huge recession, as the monthly unemployment rate in April stood at 23.52% up from March’s 8.74%. Due to this pandemic, not only jobs, but companies were also affected.

Representational image.

Till June 2020, a total of 6.8 lakh companies had been closed across India. Companies situated in metropolitan’s cities suffered a huge loss, as over 1.42 lakh companies were shut down in Maharashtra, more than 1.25 lakh in Delhi and over 67000 in West Bengal. Companies who tried to stand in the worst-hit faced reduction in the cash flow. If we talk about MSMEs, 50% of companies have reported a 20-50% impact on their earnings, as per a survey conducted by Non-Banking Financial Company Magma Fincorp and Business School Bhavan’s SPJIMR.

India’s GDP fell hugely even before the pandemic. In the Q1 of F.Y. 2020-21 (April – June), GDP contradicted by -24% which was the largest GDP contradiction ever. Whereas, the Stock Market is raging high even in the pandemic. On 23 March 2020, Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex closed at 25,981 points and on 9 November 2020, when the pandemic was still raging in a large manner, Sensex hit at 42,597.43 points.

How Is It That When GDP Faces A Contradiction, Stock Market Is Booming?

Now, let’s see what the Finance Minister, Financial Analyst, Investors and Brokers want to say about this.

According to the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, during the lockdown people started investing in the Stock Market with the savings they had and for the investment, there was a surge in the opening of Demat Account. She proved her statement by saying that in pre-covid times, around 5-6 lakh Demat Accounts were opened, while in the month of October 2020, nearly 10 lakh Demat Accounts were opened. Whereas, Shaktikanta Das, Governor, RBI, said that “There is so much liquidity in the system in the global economy that’s why the Stock Market is very buoyant and it is definitely disconnected with the real economy.”

On the other hand, Financial Analyst said that, if the delivery percentage in the stock market is high, people bought shares as an investment. And on the contrary, if it’s low, speculators will be more than the investors. In June 2020, the speculation level in India’s Stock Market was the highest in 15 years. Nowadays, youngsters are more into Intra-day trading, which means people buy shares when the market opens and sells it post-lunch, which is the reason behind the surge in the Stock Market.

What Grabs Our Attention Is The Foreign Investors!

In June and the previous month, Indian Mutual Funds and Domestic Investors took their money out from the Stock Market. But, Foreign Investors invest nearly 22000 crore in Indian Stock Market which is the 4th highest value in the last 5 years.

Why Do Foreign Investors Gush Huge Money In India’s Stock Market?

Stock Market and billionaires’ wealth is at great heights. In this pandemic only two things are flourishing, i.e; Stock Market & Billionaires Wealth. According to Billionaires Insights Report 2020, published by UBS & PWC, between April to July, the net worth of Indian Billionaires increased by 35% to $423 Billion which is faster than their Russian Counterparts.

Let’s check the position of India’s billionaires:

       I. Forbes India Rich List 2020:

Mukesh Ambani’s net worth rose 73% over the past year to nearly $88.7 billion; Gautam Adani’s net worth stands at $25.2 billion. Adani remains in the wealthiest Indian for the 13th year in a row; HCL Founder Shiv Nadar stands at $20.4 billion.

    II. Bloomberg Bill Index:

Reliance India (RIL) Chairman Ambani, became the only Asian Tycoon to be among the world’s top 10 richest people. Oxfam’s report states that India’s richest 1% population hold 42.5% of National Wealth, while the bottom 50%, that is the majority people, own merely 2.8%.

So, Economy Plunges, Stock Market Shoots Up!

The rich are getting richer, middle and poor sections are getting meagre!

India faced the largest contradiction in GDP, still, the Stock Market is raging. There is a sharp rise in the unemployment ratio, still, the wealthier are getting wealthiest. Finance Minister and Financial Analyst gave every possible explanation to not let us think whether the history of the 1992 Scam is repeating itself.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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