New Delhi: Thanks in large part to infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani’s record-breaking achievement, the ranking of India’s 100 richest has changed for the first time since 2008. Their combined wealth has grown by $25 billion to reach $800 billion dollars in 2022, according to Forbes India.
After nearly tripling his wealth in 2021, Adani doubled his fortune this year to $150 billion to become the new No. 1 and also, for a time, the second-richest person on the planet. The biggest gainer this year in both percentage and dollar terms, Adani announced it would invest $100 billion over the next decade, 70 percent of it in green energy.
Mukesh Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries (owner of Network18, publisher of Forbes India), the oil and gas telecom giant, is in second place with $88 billion, down 5% from last year.
Radhakishan Damani, who owns the DMart supermarket chain, made the top three for the first time, although his net worth fell 6 percent to $27.6 billion. Another year of big profits from Covid-19 vaccines has lifted vaccine baron Cyrus Poonawalla to fourth place with a fortune of $21.5 billion.
There are nine newcomers this year, including three from IPOs: Falguni Nayar, a former banker who became India’s richest woman after listing her beauty and fashion retailer Nykaa; ethnic wear maker Ravi Modi; and shoemaker Rafiq Malik, who announced Metro Brands last December.
Three prominent members of the list died this year: Rahul Bajaj, the ailing patriarch of the Bajaj family; Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often called India’s Warren Buffett, who died after launching his new airline Akasa Air in August and whose wife Rekha is taking his place; and construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry, whose 54-year-old son Cyrus Mistry died in a car crash in September, leaving the patriarch’s elder son Shapoor Mistry in charge of the family’s $14.2 billion fortune.
Among the four returnees is Anand Mahindra, whose Mahindra & Mahindra created a buzz by launching an electric SUV. The gainers were outnumbered by the majority – 60 in total – whose wealth has declined since a year ago.
Notable among the detractors was Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who saw shares of his One97 Communications, the parent company of fintech Paytm, fall amid the global tech meltdown. The threshold for the top 100 was $1.9 billion, almost the same as last year’s $1.94 billion.