India is often called the land of contrasts, and one such contrast that stands out is in its small percentage of haves and the overwhelmingly large majority of have nots. As we are often told, just 1 percent of India's entire population pays income tax. And, although the total income-tax collection amount went up to ₹2.86 lakh crore in 2015-16, only 5,430 individuals paid income tax of over ₹1 crore last year.
Now, according to the latest available data from the income tax department, it appears that a single unnamed taxpayer owed the government a whopping ₹21,870 crore for the assessment year 2014-15.
That's a huge figure. In fact, it is 11 percent of the total income tax to be paid by all Indians, reports IndiaSpend.
Recently, data published by Oxfam India showed how the net worth of the richest 1 percent Indians is the same as that of the bottom 90 percent of their fellow countrymen put together. The 57 richest Indians have a combined net worth of $248.4 billion, or as much as the bottom 70 percent of Indians put together.
Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani alone, with an estimated $19.3 billion to his name, is worth more than the bottom 30 percent of Indians.
According to the Oxfam report, in 2014-15, over 36 million Indians declared a salary income of nearly ₹9.8 lakh crore ($144 billion), followed by business income of ₹5.6 lakh crore ($82 billion). Income from other sources during the period stood at ₹2.4 lakh crore ($35 billion), the report states.
Among taxpayers, only 64 people had an individual tax liability of over ₹500 crore in 2014-15. The total tax payable by these 64 people added to ₹113,068 crore, or 25 percent of the total payable tax amount of ₹446,719 crore.
These figures prove yet again that in India, a Grand Canyon sized gulf separates the rich and poor.
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