Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “economic experiments barely affected” India’s billionaires with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani Thursday emerging as India’s wealthiest as his net worth swelled to $38 billion (nearly ₹2.5 lakh crore).
The wealth of India’s 100 richest people rose by 26 per cent despite economic hiccups as Ambani emerged as the wealthiest for the 10th straight year.
Wipro’s Azim Premji was the distant second with a net worth of $19 billion, moving up two places from last year, while Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi slipped from his earlier second place to the ninth now ($ 12.1 billion) on Forbes magazine’s annual ‘India Rich List 2017.’
Forbes said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “economic experiments” barely affected India’s billionaires while none gained more than oil-and-gas tycoon Mukesh Ambani, who cemented his decade-long hold on the top slot by adding a staggering $15.3 billion (67 per cent) to his last year’s wealth to become one of Asia’s top five richest.
Anil Ambani, Mukesh’s younger brother, was ranked much lower at 45th place with $3.15 billion. He was ranked 32nd in 2016 ($ 3.4 billion) and 29th a year before that.
The Hinduja brothers are at the third position with $18.4 billion while Lakshmi Mittal is now ranked fourth ($16.5 billion) and Pallonji Mistry fifth ($ 16 billion).
Patanjali Ayurved’s Acharya Balkrishna, known as a close associate of yoga guru Ramdev, made a big jump from 48th place last year to 19th now with a net worth of $6.55 billion (about ₹43,000 crore).
“Despite India’s economic hiccups, tycoons on the 2017 Forbes India Rich List saw their wealth soar as their combined fortunes rose 26 per cent to $ 479 billion (over ₹ 31 lakh crore),” the magazine said.
“India’s turbo-charged economy sputtered in the quarter ended in June as it grew at a three-year low of 5.7 per cent, due to the aftershocks of last November’s demonetisation and uncertainties over the rollout of a nation-wide Goods and Services Tax. Despite this, the stock market scaled new heights and boosted the fortunes of the nation’s 100 richest,” it added.
Forbes said the list was compiled using shareholding and financial information secured from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and regulatory agencies.
More than four-fifths of those who kept their spot on the list from last year saw their wealth rise, with 27 listees adding $1 billion or more to their net worth.
The richest newcomer is cookies-and-airline tycoon Nusli Wadia at the 25th place with a net worth of $5.6 billion.