India’s rich get richer, Mukesh Ambani retains top slot: Forbes

Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani on Thursday emerged as India’s wealthiest for the 10th straight year as his net worth swelled to USD 38 billion (nearly Rs 2.5 lakh crore) while the wealth of 100 richest rose by 26 per cent despite economic hiccups.

Wipro’s Azim Premji was the distant second with a net worth of USD 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 (USD 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 USD 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 USD 3.15 billion. He was ranked 32nd in 2016 (USD 3.4 billion) and 29th a year before that.

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 USD 6.55 billion (about Rs 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 USD 479 billion (over Rs 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.

In the case of Ambani, improved refining margins and his telecom unit Reliance Jio’s thundering success in notching up 130 million subscribers since its 2016 launch pushed up shares of Reliance Industries.

The Hinduja brothers are at the third position with USD 18.4 billion while Lakshmi Mittal is now ranked fourth (USD 16.5 billion) and Pallonji Mistry fifth (USD 16 billion).

(Agencies)

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