While it may be tempting to fall for an overly rosy report currently doing the rounds claiming India ranks among the top 10 wealthiest countries in terms of individual wealth, a closer understanding of those numbers reveals a depressing picture.
A report by New World Wealth states that in India, total individual wealth stood at about $5,600 billion, putting it in seventh place in the world, ahead of Canada ($4,700 billion) and Australia ($4,500 billion).
However, if you consider the latest GDP numbers for the average Indian person, the reported "individual wealth" ranking seems a tad misleading, leaving the average person in India quite poor.
According to World Bank data, India's gross per capita national income in 2015 stood at $6,020, ranking it 120 out of 216 countries. While its per capita income in 2015 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) ranks it at 151.
It is typically per capita income and per capita GDP in purchasing power terms that ultimately determine how well off the average person is an economy. These numbers also, more crucially, do not take into account numerous other socio-economic metrics such as quality of life, health care and longevity that determine the well-being of a country's citizens.
To be sure, the New World Wealth's staggering wealth number represents the sum of all individual wealth in India which is admittedly large given the country's humongous population of 1.3 billion.
India's 2015 GDP of about $2.07 trillion ranks as the seventh highest in the world, and its total GDP in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) of about $7.9 trillion, is the third highest, according to World Bank estimates.
So while it may be alright getting carried away by a feel-good report, it's also important to know the full picture.