Detect inequality from space; new hope for India’s development


Detect inequality from space, a new research may help in knowing the development status in regards to income inequality.

Detect inequality from space, new research will help India that would help to know more on inequality in income. The inequality of wealth and income among India’s population is referred to as income inequality.

India’s income inequality

According to the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), which for the first time collects data on income inequality, India has a lower degree of income equality than Russia, the United States, China, and Brazil, and is only somewhat more affluent than South Africa.

In India, the increase in unemployment has exacerbated income disparities. Income inequality in India has reached enormous proportions, according to all facts. 10% of India’s population controls 77 per cent of the country’s capital.

The wealthiest 1% of the consumed over 73 per cent of the national income produced per year, while the rest of the population experiences an average income increase of just 1%.

Economic inequality is the largest and most correlative cause of income inequality in a nation like India, and it is wreaking havoc on the country’s social and economic growth.

Rise in inequality 

Representative Image
Image: IIMB

Between 2000 and 2019, India’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose fivefold, from $443 in 2000 to $2014 in 2019.

In 2019, the top ten per cent of the population received 56 per cent of the country’s overall revenue, while the bottom ten per cent received just 3.5 per cent.

The distribution of wealth follows a similar pattern. In 2019, the wealthiest ten per cent of Indians owned 80.7 per cent of the country’s capital.

The Gini coefficient (inequality of income distribution) in India indicates that inequality is rising. In 2014 it was 34.4 per cent (100 per cent indicates full inequality and 0 per cent full equality).
In 2011, the coefficient was 35.7 per cent, and in 2018, it was 47.9 per cent. In terms of inequality, India is only second to Russia in the world.

Research to help detect inequality 

Researchers from Wageningen University, Utrecht University, and Nanjing University discovered a way to calculate income disparities using nighttime light pollution. Inequality has only been accurately measured for a small number of countries and on a very limited spatial scale. For the very first time, the new approach allows for the development of a global inequality diagram. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The areas where people dwell light up at night as seen from space. As a result, night-time illumination reveals the location of humans.

According to recent research, wealthy areas produce more light per person than poor areas, owing to larger homes, improved street lighting, and other factors. Using a mixture of satellite imagery and population density charts, we can discern between rich and poor areas. 

Also Read: Malaria big problem in India and here’s how its vaccine is a hope

Detect inequality from space

The latest study goes still further, revealing that wage inequality can be estimated from space. This approach generated a map depicting global hotspots of equality and inequality.

They are unable to see individual earnings from the space. The fine patterns that occur in satellite images, on the other hand, still hold a lot of detail. 

The propensity for people to segregate between wealthier and poorer neighbourhoods is almost common.

The scientist compared their findings to standard measures of income inequality. Traditional measures are based on self-reported income or tax reports, all of which are notoriously inaccurate, especially in developing countries.

This new study estimated deprivation in areas where data was previously unavailable, especially in developing countries like India.  

Indian economist duo’s research

Images from space
Images captured by the economist duo

Praveen Chakravarty and Vivek Dehejia, two Indian economists, have obtained photographs captured by satellites from the US Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. 

These satellites orbit the earth 14 times a day and use sensors to record light from the earth’s surface at night. They overlaid a map of India’s districts on their photographs, enabling them to create a one-of-a-kind data set of luminosity levels over time.

They looked at 387 of 640 districts in 12 states using data provided by the night lights. 85 per cent of India’s population and 80 per cent of its GDP are concentrated in these districts. 

These regions account for 87 per cent of legislative seats. The economists used a novel approach to chart wealth disparities in India. 

Many parts of India are dark at night because there is little commercial activity.

India and it’s way ahead

India’s economic growth has greatly slowed. Taxation is how states make profits. The simple response is to raise taxes on the rich. A higher income tax rate for billionaires could help the state raise more money.

In any case, disinvestment of Central Public Sector Undertakings and public sector banks can’t be a permanent solution in an economy where inequality is rising sharply.

There is a need to keep track of what is going on in India’s poorest areas. A periodic analysis may encourage lawmakers to think more deeply about the problem and come up with better solutions to eliminate inequality.

The new research to detect inequality from space will help the nation to get exact data and information on the economic and income inequality. The information can further be used to improvise the development system in India.


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