India is a vast country with abundant natural resources. A big chunk of these resources is owned by the government. Since we are a democracy, where the people are sovereign, government-owned resources actually signify a collective ownership of all the citizens over the country’s assets.
The government owns natural resources such as land, forests and bio-reserves, mines, minerals, hydrocarbon, etc. Along with this, the government owns physical and capital assets in the country’s industrial and services sector. Estimating the value of all the many natural and physical resources owned by the government is a difficult task as there is an absence of a proper method of pricing for each resource category. An effort is made in this exercise to provide an estimate of the value of part of the government-owned resources in India and to estimate the per capita value of these resources.
On the 'Kings Every Day' episode, Aamir calls Subrat Das from the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability to share his organization’s findings about the wealth of the nation. Subrat Das reveals that they were able to calculate the approximate value of only the stocks of hydrocarbons and part of the country’s mineral resources. Despite this, the figure was an astounding amount of Rs 5 thousand lakh crores! If this is divided into the population of the country, which is approximately 120 crores, each Indian is worth more than Rs 40 lakh.
Then why are there so many below the poverty line?
To read the entire text of An Estimation of the Value of Government-Owned Resources in India by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, click here.