The gap between country's haves and have-nots has increasingly shown a widening trend in recent times. This has revealed the fact that a majority section of people has been reduced to penury facing hardships in maintaining their daily lives.
According to a report published in the daily on Wednesday, the number of nouveaux riches in the country increased by around 3,362 persons to over 1,13,554 within a three-month period until the end of last June. Each of them has at least an amount of Tk 1 crore in their banks' accounts.
As per a statement from the Bangladesh Bank, the new group of wealthy men who have deposited over Tk 1 crore in their respective banks has shifted their money from the capital market fearing uncertainty and volatility in the stock market. This money transfer from the capital market to the bank deposits is attributed to an increase in the interest rates on deposited money and the legal money holders have opted for the safe and profitable options.
Surprisingly, rich people now represent over 43 per cent of the total banks' deposits in the country which is up from 32.28 per cent three months ago. As of March 31, the number of accounts with over Tk 1 crore in deposits was 1,10,192 with a total deposits of Tk 6,90,877 crore which went up further to Tk 7,31,332 crore in a short span of time.
With rich people becoming richer, Bangladesh has witnessed a sharp rise in income inequality over the last five decades since its independence in 1971. Rampant corruption, willful defaulters of banks' loans, scope of money laundering and unhealthy political competition have all created disparities among people.
As a result, general people have grown increasingly restive in the absence of new employment generation on the back of skyrocketing essential commodity prices. The rise in income inequality is causing increased levels of poverty in the country as reflected in people's everyday life.
Despite significant improvement in our economic performance with per capita income on the threshold of nearly $3,000, the government has not been able to make much headway in its efforts for equal distribution of the country's wealth. This has caused an estimated 70 million people to live still under the poverty line in a country of around 170 million people.
This is why the issue of income inequality and poverty remain a major challenge facing our economy.
We are in view that it's high time the government took pragmatic measures to reduce inequality and concentrated on equal distribution of the country's wealth among people. Otherwise, its attempt to become a developing country by 2026 and a developed one by 2041 would count for nothing.