India is a country with a relatively large GDP of over $1.87 trillion, but it's also a nation of historically entrenched economic inequalities. There is a marked divide between a traditional, agricultural and rural labour force, and a metropolitan, industrial one. India's economy has long been undergoing a process of globalization, with a largely English-speaking workforce and the emergence of world-scale Indian businesses. The wide-ranging benefits of an international economy, however, are still largely the privilege of the Indian elite.
The Indian business people making their way up in the world are those working in services, IT, pharmacology, industry, technology and oil. Services are the biggest source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India's output, but comprising less than one-third of its labour force. India’s growth has accelerated since the early 1990s, averaging just below 7% each year since 1997.
In 2010, the Indian economy rebounded robustly from the global financial crisis thanks to strong domestic demand. However, India's economic growth began slowing in 2011 after a slowdown in government spending and a decline in investment, caused by investor pessimism about the government's commitment to further economic reforms. This past year has been particularly unproductive and India’s economy has been struggling. Despite a 12% rise of the stock market, the economy was hit by almost double-digit inflation and the rupee fell by 16%. Over the past year, the wealth of India’s 100 richest grew by a mere 3%.
The billionaires on this list, as per Bloomberg's billionaire list, represent the successful few. All are involved in massive nationwide or international business endeavours. Around half of these leaders are first generation entrepreneurial billionaires whose businesses are actively helping to stimulate the national economy and create employment.
10 Gautam Adani - $7.3 billion
9 Savitri Jindal - $7.4 billion
8 Kumar Birla - $7.4 billion
7 Anil Ambani - $8.4 billion
6 Shiv Nadar - $13.3 billion
5 Azim Premji - $16.6 billion
Indian business tycoon Azim Premji is the chairman of Wipro Limited. He has led the Bangalore-based company through four decades of growth and diversification, establishing the multinational IT consulting and system integration service as one of the leading companies of the Indian the software industry. Wipro Limited is India’s third-biggest software exporter and Premji controls 56 percent of it. He also owns PremjiInvest, a private-equity fund which manages about $1 billion of his money, and an interest in JM Financial.
4 Lakshmi Mittal - $17.2 billion
Lakshmi Mittal is a steel magnate, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company. Mittal owns 38% of ArcelorMittal which is based in Luxembourg, has operations in mining, energy and refining, and does business in 60 countries around the world. Based in London where he owns many properties, Mittal was the wealthiest man of Asian descent in Britain in 2007. He is a member of the board of directors of Goldman Sachs and of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
3 Pallonji Mistry - $18 billion
2 Dilip Shanghvi - $19.6 billion
1 Mukesh Ambani - $24.3 billion
Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in India and the second richest man in Asia. He has made his fortune as managing director, shareholder and chairman of Reliance Industries Limited. RIL is a holding company that deals with the oil and gas sectors, refining and petrochemicals. It is the second most valuable Indian company and Ambani holds a 41% stake in it. He also owns the nation's biggest natural gas field. Currently, the billionaire is working on a project to build India's first 4G wireless network in 700 cities.
Ambani is involved with many institutions: he has served on the board of directors of Bank of America Corporation and the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also used to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, which is one of the leading business schools in India. Ambani leads a luxurious life, living in a 27 storey home worth $1 billion with his family of six. He also owns the Mumbai Indians professional cricket team and is one of the richest sports owners in the world. However, despite flaunting his wealth, in 2009 Ambani took a 66 percent pay cut as an ‘example of moderation’.
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