India has world’s fourth highest number of billionaires

India is home to world’s fourth highest number of billionaires with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani leading the club of more than 100 super rich Indians, according to a new list released by Forbes magazine. The Forbes list of the ‘World’s Billionaires’ 2017 consists of 2,043 of the richest people in the world who have a combined net worth of USD 7.67 trillion, a record 18-per cent increase over the past year.

The list has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for the fourth year in a row. He has been the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. Gates has a fortune of USD 86 billion, up from USD 75 billion last year, followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffet with a net worth of USD 75.6 billion.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos added USD 27.6 billion to his fortune; now worth USD 72.8 billion, moving into the top three in the world for the first time, up from number five a year ago. US President Donald Trump is ranked 544th on the list with his net worth of USD 3.5 billion.

India is home to 101 billionaires, the first time it has has more than 100 super rich individuals.

There are nearly 20 people of Indian-origin who have made fortunes in various nations across the world, led by UK-based Hinduja brothers ranked 64th with USD 15.4 billion net worth, Indian-born tycoon Pallonji Mistry, who controls the 152-year-old Mumbai-headquartered engineering giant Shapoorji Pallonji Group at the 77th spot with USD 14.3 billion net worth and petrochemicals major Indorama co-founder Sri Prakash Lohia at the 288th spot with USD 5.4 billion net worth.

Next on the list of Indian billionaires is ArcelorMittal chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal on the 56th spot with a net worth of USD 16.4 billion.

The list includes only four women billionaires from India, led by Savitri Jindal and her family at the 303rd position with a net worth of USD 5.2 billion. “After declining last year, the fortune of steel and power clan, whose matriarch Savitri Jindal chairs the OP Jindal Group, rose as steel prices recovered,” Forbes said.

Smita Crishna-Godrej from the Godrej clan is ranked 814th followed by Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (973) and Leena Tewari (1030), chair of USV India which specialises in diabetic and cardiovascular drugs.

Also making the list is Wipro chairman Azim Premji (72), Adani group founder Gautam Adani (250), Bajaj Group chair Rahul Bajaj (544), investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (939), Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy (1161), chairman emeritus of Dabur Vivek Chand Burman (1290), Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani (1290), Wockhardt chair Habib Khorakiwala (1567), Mahindra group chief Anand Mahindra (1567), property tycoons Niranjan and Surendra Hiranandani (tied at 1678) and Yes Bank head Rana Kapoor (1795).

Founder of mobile wallet Paytm Vijay Shekhar Sharma is ranked 1567 with his net worth of USD 1.3 billion. Forbes said Paytm was “one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s decision to demonetise 86 per cent of India’s rupees and move to a cashless economy”, notching up 200 million registered users and five million transactions daily.

Making his debut on the list at 814th spot is Acharya Balkrishna, friend of yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who holds 97 per cent stake in the fast-growing consumer goods firm Patanjali Ayurveda. His net worth is USD 2.5 billion.