India's 100 Richest in 2022: Cumulative Wealth Jumps to $800 Billion

The combined wealth of India’s 100 richest has grown by $25 billion to touch $800 billion in 2022, Forbes India has reported.

The gain was largely due to a record-breaking feat by infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani, which changed the pecking order at the top for the first time since 2008. 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 while, the second richest person on the planet. The biggest gainer this year in both percentage and dollar terms, Adani announced he would be investing $100 billion over the next decade, 70 per cent of it in green energy.

Mukesh Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries [owner of Network18, the publisher of Forbes India], the oil and gas to telecom giant, is at No. 2 with $88 billion, down 5 per cent from last year.

Radhakishan Damani, who owns the DMart chain of supermarkets, broke into the top three for the first time though his net worth declined by 6 per cent to $27.6 billion. Another year of bumper profits from Covid-19 vaccines pushed up vaccine baron Cyrus Poonawalla to fourth place with a fortune of $21.5 billion.

There are nine new faces this year, including three from IPOs: Falguni Nayar, a former banker who became India’s richest self-made woman after listing her beauty and fashion retailer Nykaa; ethnic garments maker Ravi Modi; and shoemaker Rafique Malik, who listed Metro Brands last December.

Three prominent list members passed away this year: Rahul Bajaj, the ailing patriarch of the Bajaj family; Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often referred to as India’s Warren Buffet, who died after launching his new airline Akasa Air in August and whose wife, Rekha, takes his place; and construction magnate Pallonji Mistry, whose 54-year-old son Cyrus Mistry died in a car crash in September leaving the patriarch’s older son Shapoor Mistry at the helm of the family’s $14.2 billion fortune.

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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 all—who saw their wealth decline from a year ago.

Notable among the drop-offs was Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who saw shares of his One97 Communications, the parent company of fintech Paytm, fall amid the global tech rout. The cutoff for the top 100 was $1.9 billion, almost the same as last year’s $1.94 billion.

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