Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, with a net worth of $22.7 billion, tops the Forbes magazine's India rich list for 2016, followed by Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries at a distant second with a net worth of $16.9 billion.
The third in the list is the Hinduja family. The brothers -- Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, who control the group, have a net worth of $15.2 billion.
The others in the top 10 are Azim Premji of Wipro ($15 billion), Pallonji Mistry of Shapoorji Pallonji Group ($13.9 billion), Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal ($12.5 billion), the Godrej family of the Godrej group ($12.4 billion), Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies ($11.4 billion); Kumar Mangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla group ($8.8 billion), and Cyrus Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India ($8.6 billion). (See the full list here.)
The list of the top 100 rich people in India, an annual list compiled by the magazine, is arrived at by calculating the value of their shareholding and other financial details available publicly.
There are no surprises in the list this year at the top level, but towards the bottom there are a few interesting names and trends.
Here are seven takeaways from the list:
1) Acharya Balkrishna debuts: Balkrishna, who holds about 97 percent stake in Patanjali Ayurveda and has a net worth of $2.5 billion, has debuted in the list at 48th spot. This is the second time he has figured in a rich list in as many weeks. Earlier this month, Balkrishna was at the 26th spot in Hurun's India rich list for 2016, which estimated his net worth at Rs 25,000 crore. While controversial yoga guru Baba Ramdev is the face of Patanjali Ayurved, founded in 2006, Balkrishna is the one who runs the company. The company, which first sold ayurvedic products, has recently diversified into fast moving consumer goods and gives a run for the money to multinational giants like Unilever and Colgate Palmolive.
2) $1.25 billion threshold: The threshold for entering the top 100 wealthy Indian list has hit a record of $1.25 billion, says the magazine. Last year, the cut off was at $1.1 billion and had 10 people below the $1.25 billion. The rise in the "entry price", as the magazine calls is it, is indication of the rising wealth of the wealthy.
3) 6 new entrants: There are six new entrants in the list this year. After Balkrishna, the notable among them are the brothers Divyank and Bhavin Turakhia of the Directi Group. They have a net worth of $1.3 billion. They sold their company Media.net last year to a Chinese consortium for $900 million, which has propelled them into the list. In a recent interview to Firstpost, Bhavin said he is now focusing on biotechnology, which he thinks will be the next business opportunity globally. His brother Divyank is focussing on online advertising. "Our goal is not to make money, attain success or fame. We are focused on making a difference in people’s lives – our employees and customers. Money in our scheme of things is irrelevant as that is not our goal," he had said.
4) Flipkart Bansals fall off: There are 13 dropouts this year. The notable among them is Flipkart's Scachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related). Both the entrepreneurs had made their grand entry into the list last year, which also pointed to the digital storm that was taking over the country's businesses. However, over the last one year, their company witnessed a slew of valuation markdowns from about $15 billion to $9 billion, which reduced the value of their holding.
5) 8 returnees: As many as eight have returned to the list this year due to the rise in the stock market last year. The notables among them are Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon and Tulsi Tanti of Suzlon.
6) Govt policy boost: The Narendra Modi government's focus on business-friendliness is a much discussed and debated fact. A few of the businessmen who figure in the list have majorly benefited from the government's policies. Key among them are Benu Gopal Bangur of Shree Cement and Ashwin Dani of Asian Paints. "The government’s infrastructure push and housing-for-all policy boosted cement and paint fortunes," notes the magazine. Bangur has catapulted into the top 20 for the first with a fortune of $5.9 billion and is at 14th spot. He witnessed his wealth rise by $2 billion and Dani by more than $1 billion due to the rise in the prices of their shares.
7) 4 women in the list: There are four women in the list -- Savitri Jindal (rank 19, $5.3 billion); Vinod Rai Gupta of Havells (rank 46, $2.5 billion); Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon (rank 65, $1.83 billion); and Leena Tewari who chiars privately held pharma company USV India (rank 79, $1.6 billion).