NEW DELHI :
A SOARING stock market propelled the combined wealth of members of the 2021 Forbes list of India’s 100 Richest to a record US$775 billion, after adding $257 billion -- a 50 per cent rise -- in the past 12 months. In this bumper year, more than 80 per cent of the listees saw their fortunes increase, with 61 adding $1 billion or more. At the top of the list is Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person since 2008, with a net worth of $92.7 billion. Ambani recently outlined plans to pivot into renewable energy with a $10 billion investment by his Reliance Industries. Close to a fifth of the increase in the collective wealth of India’s 100 richest came from infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani, who ranks No. 2 for the third year in a row. Adani, who is the biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms, nearly tripled his fortune to $74.8 billion from $25.2 billion previously, as shares of all his listed companies soared.
At No. 3 with $31 billion is Shiv Nadar, founder of software giant HCL Technologies, who saw a $10.6 billion boost in his net worth from the country’s buoyant tech sector. Retailing magnate Radhakishan Damani retained the fourth spot with his net worth nearly doubling to $29.4 bn from $15.4 billion, as his supermarket chain Avenue Supermarts opened 22 new stores in the fiscal year ending March. India has administered over 870 million Covid-19 vaccine shots to date, thanks partly to Serum Institute of India, founded by vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, who moves into the top five with a net worth of $19 billion. His privately held company makes Covishield under license from AstraZeneca and has other Covid-19 vaccines under development.
India’s recovery from a deadly second wave of Covid-19, which broke out earlier this year, restored investor confidence in the world’s sixth-largest economy. There are six newcomers on this year’s list, with half of them from the booming chemicals sector. They include Ashok Boob (No. 93, $2.3 billion) whose Clean Science and Technology listed in July; Deepak Mehta (No. 97, $2.05 billion) of Deepak Nitrite and Yogesh Kothari (No. 100, $1.94 billion) of Alkyl Amines Chemicals. Arvind Lal (No. 87, $2.55 billion), the executive chairman of diagnostics chain Dr Lal PathLabs, also debuted on the list.