The Double A domination of India’s rich list

The double As – Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani – dominate the India rich list with the gap between them the rest of India Inc being a very large one.

There was a time when Tata and Birla were synonyms for India’s rich. Every region had its own wealthy like the Shrirams, Thapars, Nandas, and Modis in the north or the Bangurs in the east or the Mafatlals, Walchands, Kirloskars, Khataus, Sarabhais and Lalbhais in the west and the M.A. Chidambaram group in the south. Over time, many groups have floundered and fallen on bad times.

There are many defining moments in this journey which saw a debilitating impact on family industrial groups. The year 1964 was a turning point because this was when the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission was established. By that year, the MRTP Commission had finished collecting and sifting information on Indian big business and hence reliable data was available.

The next interesting inflection point came in 1991, when the P.V. Narasimha Rao administration introduced the New Economic Policy. This is where it all changed – India’s most radical policy document in the form of the New Industrial Policy – the Licence Permit Raj was scrapped on 24 July 1991.

Democratic socialism had been consigned to the rubbish heap of history – Licence Raj, which was in place for four decades, came to an end with the new industrial policy announced by Finance Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao, who also held the portfolio of Industries Minister.

The New Industrial Policy proposed getting rid of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices and abolishing industrial licensing for all but 18 industries. Foreign equity holdings were proposed to be raised by 51 per cent in a project. Indian industry was free of controls and bureaucracy like never before.

Over the last 30 years, India Inc had been turned on its head. As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index now, Gautam Adani is ranked 4th in the world with a total net worth of $125 billion.

Adani is followed by Mukesh Ambani at number 10 with a net worth of $83.6 billion.

However, after Adani and Ambani the gap widens by a large extent and is then taken up by the software czars. The next rank from India is number 45 for Azim Premji of Wipro with a net worth of $ 24.6 billion.

Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies is at number 51 on the index with a net worth of $22.8 billion. The representation from India is then only at number 101 with Dilip Shanghvi with a net worth of $14.9 billion followed by Cyrus Poonawalla at 102 with $14.8 billion. Lakhsmi Mittal is at 103 with a net worth of $14.7 billion.

Uday Kotak is ranked 106 with a net worth of $13.7 billion. Savitri Jindal is ranked at 119 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $12.9 billion.

Sunil Mittal is ranked at 134 with a net worth of $12.2 billion. Kumar Birla is at 159 with a net worth of $10.8 billion.

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