Mumbai: As many as 40 Indians entered the billionaires’ club in the pandemic-stricken 2020 to take the number of those in the coveted list to 177 people, a media report said on Tuesday.
Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani continued to be the wealthiest Indian with a net worth of USD 83 billion (nearly Rs.61,000 crores). He witnessed a 24 percent jump in fortunes and climbed up one spot to be the eighth richest globally, according to the Hurun Global Rich List.
Gautam Adani from Gujarat, who has had a spectacular rise in fortunes in the last few years, saw his wealth almost doubling to USD 32 billion in 2020 and climbed 20 places to be the 48th richest person globally and the second wealthiest Indian. His brother Vinod’s wealth grew 128 percent to USD 9.8 billion, the report said.
The study compiled individual or family wealth in the year until January 15, 2021. In contrast, the Indian economy is expected to contract by over 7 percent in 2020-21 because of the pandemic’s impact, which had forced governments to go for prolonged nationwide lockdowns, that had a debilitating impact on the poor.
Hurun India’s Managing Director and Chief Researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said Indian wealth creation is dominated by cyclical or traditional industries compared to tech-driven wealth creation in the US and China.
“When the tech-driven wealth creation reaches full potential, India could potentially beat the USA in terms of the number of billionaires,” he added.
Information Technology company HCL’s Shiv Nadar was the third wealthiest Indian with a fortune of USD 27 billion while some peers in the tech industry dominated the list of fastest-growing wealth.
Jay Chaudhry of software company Zcaler saw a 274 percent rise in net worth to USD 13 billion during 2020 while Byju Raveendran and his family saw a 100 percent increase in wealth to USD 2.8 billion, the report said.
Diversified corporate house Mahindra Group’s head Anand Mahindra and family also saw a 100 percent increase in wealth to USD 2.4 billion.
Among those who saw a decline in their net worth during the year was Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved at USD 3.6 billion, down 32 percent.
Mumbai, India’s financial capital, continued to lead in the country in this list, being home to 60 of the 177 Indian billionaires, followed by New Delhi at 40 and Bengaluru at 22 billionaires, the report said.
From a gender perspective, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon leads with a net worth of USD 4.8 billion (up 41 percent), Smita V Crishna of Godrej at USD 4.7 billion, and Lupin’s Manju Gupta at USD 3.3 billion.
A majority of 118 billionaires were classified as self-made ones in the ranking, as against 932 of the 1,058 billionaires in neighboring China, which is home to the highest number of billionaires.
Globally, the list is led by Elon Musk of Tesla with a fortune of USD 197 billion followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at USD 189 billion, and Frenchman Bernard Arnault of fashion house LVMH at USD 114 billion.