The fortunes of India’s richest have witnessed a 50 per cent rise during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Forbes list of 100 richest Indians in 2021.
A soaring stock market, high levels of liquidity and demand for new-age digital services helped India’s wealthy cash in during the pandemic. The combined wealth of 100 richest Indians on the 2021 Forbes List jumped to a record $775 billion after — a rise of $257 billion or 50% over the past 12 months.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani retained the top spot in the 2021 Forbes India rich list for the 14th year in a row, with a net worth of $92.7 billion.
According to the list, Ambani added $4 billion to his net worth during the period. His wealth growth can be credited to Reliance’s steady growth on the stock market due to gains in the telecom, digital and retail businesses.
Gautam Adani has retained the second spot for the third year in a row with a net worth of $74.8 billion. As per the Forbes list, the infrastructure tycoon accounted for close to a fifth of the increase in the collective wealth of India’s richest.
Adani’s fortunes nearly tripled to $74.8 billion from $25.2 billion previously, as shares of all his listed companies soared during the past 12 months.
Shiv Nadar, the founder of software giant HCL, has occupied the third spot on the rich list with a net worth of $31 billion. His net worth increased by over $10 billion this year due to the rise of technology-driven solutions during the past year.
Retail magnate Radhakishan Damani has retained the fourth spot in the list as his net worth almost doubled from $15.4 billion to $29.4 billion. His Avenue Supermarts has seen strong growth during the period and opened 22 new stores in the fiscal year that ended in March.
Cyrus Poonawalla, the founder of Serum Institute of India SII’s, moved up to the fifth spot with a net worth of $19 billion. His net worth has sharply gained during the year due to SII’s Covid vaccination drive.
Lakshmi Mittal ($18.8 billion), Savitri Jindal ($18 billion), Uday Kotak ($16.5 billion), Pallonji Mistry ($16.4 billion), and Kumar Mangalam Birla ($15.8 billion) occupy the rest of the top 10 richest Indians on the Forbes List. Click here to check the full list.
The Forbes list noted that more than 80 per cent of the listees saw their fortunes increase and 61 individuals added more than $1 billion or more to their net worth during the period.
Meanwhile, there are six newcomers on this year’s list and almost half of them are from the booming chemicals sector.
They are Clean Science and Technology's Ashok Boob (Rank 93, $2.3 billion), Deepak Mehta of Deepak Nitrate (Rank 97, $2.05 billion) and Yogesh Kothari (Rank 100, $1.94 billion) of Alkyl Amines Chemicals.
Arvind Lal (Rank 87, $2.55 billion) of diagnostics chain Dr Lal PathLabs also debuted on the list after the shares of his company doubled on the stock market due to the pandemic-induced testing surge.
Some billionaires that returned the list including property magnate Mangal Prabhat Lodha (Rank 42, $4.5 billion) and Apollo Hospitals’ Prathap Reddy (Rank 88, $2.53 billion).
A total of 11 people who made the list last year have failed to make it this year due to the increased cut-off for gaining entry. The minimum amount required to make the list this year was $1.94 billion, up from $1.33 billion last year.
The list was compiled by Forbes by using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and the country’s regulatory agencies.