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Indian Billionaires Soar To Record Highs

Muskesh Ambani illustration by Kevin McGivern for forbes
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Updated Apr 3, 2024, 12:15am EDT

India sets another record on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list, with 200 names, a cumulative total nearing a trillion dollars and Asia’s very first centibillionaire.

By Naazneen Karmali, Forbes Staff


The Indian stock market is on fire in the run-up to the upcoming federal election, which is widely expected to result in a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The rally produced a record crop of 200 Indians on Forbes’ 2024 list of the World’s Billionaires—up from 169 last year. Their combined wealth is approaching a trillion dollars, with a record total of $954 billion—up 41% from $675 billion last year and well exceeding 2022’s total of $750 billion.

With shares of his Reliance Industries conglomerate booming, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani shot up to $116 billion, from $83 billion, making him the first Asian to break into the exclusive $100 billion club on the World’s Billionaires list. Ambani retained his position as the ninth richest person in the world and remains both India’s and Asia’s richest person. These days he’s busy not only inking deals including an $8.5 billion merger between Viacom18 Media, Reliance’s entertainment unit and Walt Disney Company’s India operations announced in February, but also opening his checkbook to pay for the celebrity-packed gala in Jamnagar, site of Reliance’s oil refining complex, to celebrate his youngest son Anant’s upcoming July wedding. The three-day fest in March drew 1,600 guests, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Ivanka Trump, with performances by Rihanna and several Bollywood superstars. (Ambani’s Reliance owns Network18, which is a licensee of Forbes Media and publishes Forbes India.)

The biggest dollar gainer among Indian billionaires this year is infrastructure and commodities tycoon Gautam Adani, who added $36.8 billion to cement his position as India’s second wealthiest citizen. Shares of Adani Group, which includes his flagship Adani Enterprises, Adani Green Energy and Adani Power, among others, were battered last year after allegations of fraud by U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, but rebounded strongly after it reduced debt and secured investors such as Indian-American billionaire Rajiv Jain’s GQG Partners. Adani Group has denied the allegations. All this helped Adani claw his way back into the top 20 wealthiest in the world to No.17 with a fortune of $84 billion.

The richest woman in India remains Savitri Jindal, matriarch of a steel and power fortune, whose O.P. Jindal group listed its infrastructure unit last year. She is now the fourth richest in India, up from sixth a year ago, with a net worth of $33.5 billion.

Overall, the wealth of more than two-thirds of the Indian billionaires on the list swelled from last year. A dozen of them at least doubled their fortunes since 2023, including property magnate Kushal Pal Singh, whose developer DLF benefited from a buoyant real estate market. Singh is now worth $20.9 billion and ranked No.92 in the world, still far off his record high in 2008 when he ranked 8th richest on the planet worth $30 billion.

Only two in the group of top ten Indians saw their wealth decline: the country’s vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla’s fortune dropped to $21.3 billion as sales of Covid-19 vaccines made by his Serum Institute of India dwindled. Poonawalla, whose son Adar was in the news for buying a Mayfair mansion in London for 138 million pounds in December, has slipped to the position of the country’s sixth richest person from number four.

The other notable fortune to shrink was that of steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, whose Arcelor Mittal shares fell in a weak market; he’s now the tenth richest in the country, down from number five last year (Mittal was the third-richest in the world in 2005).

Twenty-five new Indian billionaires made their debut. Among them are Naresh Trehan, a leading cardiac surgeon-turned-healthcare entrepreneur, who owns and runs the Medanta chain of hospitals in north India; Ramesh Kunhikannan, founder of Kaynes Technology, which supplied electronic systems for India’s moon mission in August that powered the rover and the lander; and Renuka Jagtiani, who oversees Middle East retailing giant Landmark Group. She inherited her fortune from her late husband Micky Jagtiani, Landmark’s founder, who died last year after a long illness. He was one of three Indian billionaires to die in the past 12 months. The others were : Keshub Mahindra, chairman emeritus of Mahindra & Mahindra, and paints billionaire Ashwin Dani of Asian Paints.

A dozen people returned to the list after previously falling off, including financial services veteran Raamdeo Agrawal, whose business partner Motilal Oswal makes his debut this year. The chartered accountants founded a small stockbroking outfit in 1987 and turned it into the listed Motilal Oswal Financial Services, which offers everything from investment banking to wealth management. India’s infrastructure push propelled expressway builder Virendra Mhaiskar back into the ranks after a 13-year gap.

Only four people from last year’s list dropped off this time, including former edtech star Byju Raveendran, whose firm Byju’s was enveloped in multiple crises and its valuation was marked down by BlackRock to $1 billion, a fraction of its peak $22 billion valuation in 2022. Rohiqa Mistry is excluded this year as disclosures revealed that her late husband Cyrus Mistry’s share of the family’s fortune that is tied to a valuable stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata conglomerate, was inherited by her two sons Firoz Mistry and Zahan Mistry. Both hold Irish passports and therefore are not included among Indian billionaires.

Here are India’s 10 richest people.

NET WORTHS ARE AS OF MARCH 8, 2024.


10. Lakshmi Mittal

Net worth: $16.4 Billion | Source of wealth: Steel | City: London


9. Radhakishan Damani

Net worth: $17.6 Billion | Source of wealth: Retail, Investments | City: Mumbai


8. Kumar Birla

Net worth: $19.7 Billion | Source of wealth: Commodities |City: Mumbai


7. Kushal Pal Singh

Net worth: $20.9 Billion | Source of wealth: Real Estate | City: London/Dubai


6. Cyrus Poonawalla

Net worth: $21.3 Billion | Source of wealth: Vaccines | City: Pune



5. Dilip Shanghvi

Net worth: $26.7 Billion | Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals | City: Mumbai


4. Savitri Jindal

Net worth: $33.5 Billion | Source of wealth: Steel | City: Hisar


3. Shiv Nadar

Net worth: $36.9 Billion | Source of wealth: Software Services | City: Delhi


2. Gautam Adani

Net worth: $84 Billion | Source of wealth: Infrastructure | City: Ahmedabad


1. Mukesh Ambani

Net worth: $116 Billion | Source of wealth: Diversified | City: Mumbai



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