Wealth elites of Kolkata

Thakurata, Saswata Guha
Bhowmik, Manas Ranjan
Basu, Riona
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Southern Centre for Inequality Studies
In this paper, focusing on the city of Kolkata, we present a narrative concerning - a. The caste-class-ethnicity intersectionality with respect to wealth ownership; b. The sectoral dimension of wealth creation; and c. the spatial implications of the process of wealth accumulation. We study this with reference to the transition through various regimes of accumulation (pre-colonial, colonial, post-independence Nehruvian regime and post-independence neoliberal regime). We have collected data from multiple sources (including Hurun List, various secondary sources, primary data collection, and interviews). It is found that a relatively larger number of 1000 cr+ Primary Wealth Owners (PWO), as per the Hurun list, are involved in Metals and Mining sector activities, followed by sectors such as Textiles, Apparels & Accessories. PWOs from the Hurun list are diverse in terms of their wealth profile, sectoral involvement and also their social identities (e.g., community). The analysis of family background and educational attainment and affiliation, demonstrates how the location of birth tends to become critical both socially and economically. The ethnic, caste and religious dimensions of the accounting of wealth elites in Kolkata are unavoidable. The wealthy elite minority is overpopulated by the Marwaris. Bengalis are scarcely there. Religion wise this group is mainly Hindu dominated.
Thakurata, S.G, Bhowmik, M.R and Basu, R. 2023. Wealth elites in Kolkata. Wealth Inequality Working Paper | Number 51