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Fiscal deficit below billionaires' wealth in India; not in US
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March 12, 2009 16:15 IST

India can write off its current fiscal deficit with less than two-third wealth of its billionaires, but the US would need more than the fortunes of its billion-dollar citizens for the same.

Besides, India would meet over half of its proposed expenditure for the next fiscal with its billionaires' wealth, while the American billionaires' total wealth would meet only one-third of their country's proposed $3 trillion expenditure in the next financial year.

According to the latest list of world's billionaires, released by the US business magazine Forbes, Americans have regained their dominance in the worldwide billionaires' wealth with a lion's share of 44 per cent.

The cumulative wealth of all the Americans among the 793 billionaires globally stands at about $1.05 trillion, which is less than $1.3 trillion deficit that US President Barack Obama inherited from the previous regime.

In comparison, Forbes has pegged the total wealth of 25 Indian billionaires, both resident and non-resident, at about $109 billion (over Rs 5,65,000 crore) -- which is much more than the country's fiscal deficit of Rs 3,26,515 crore or $63 billion (the revised Budget estimate) for fiscal year ending this month. 

Besides, the Indian government proposed its total expenditure for 2009-10, in its interim budget last month, at about Rs 9,53,231 crore (about $190 billion), which is less than double the total wealth of billionaires in the country.

In comparison, the total expenditure proposed by the US federal government last month for fiscal year 2010 stands at about $3 trillion -- which is nearly three-times the wealth of American billionaires.

While the idea of getting rid of a country's fiscal deficit or meeting federal expenses with billionaires' wealth is hypothetical, a number of these billion-dollar networth people are known for their philanthropy.

Another list of Asia's top philanthropists, published recently by Forbes, had four Indians, two of whom -- Sunil Mittal and Anil Agarwal -- have also made to the latest list of world's billionaires. Telecom tycoon Mittal is ranked 59th globally with a net worth of $7.7 billion, while metal moghul Agarwal is at 468th position with $1.5 billion.

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