Coronavirus wiped nearly a quarter of Indian billionaires' wealth: Forbes
The outbreak of COVID-19, which has claimed over 2.5 lakh lives and put a third of the world's population under lockdown, has wrecked economies completely. Everyone is struggling with the economic repercussions of the pandemic, including the richest people in India, who have reportedly lost nearly a quarter of their collective wealth in the wake of this crisis. Here's what the numbers say.
As of March 18, 2020, when the world was three months into the pandemic, the number of billionaires in India was down to 102 from 106 a year ago, according to Forbes India. The impact of the virus was such on the already-slowing global economy that the total collective wealth of these renowned business tycoons had fallen by a significant 23% to $313 bn.
Despite the unprecedented situation, Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and MD of Reliance Industries, remained the richest Indian in the Forbes 2020 list. Ambani's total net worth plummeted by $13.2 bn from last year to $36.8 bn, but even after that, he was richer than all other business magnates in the country, including those who were making money due to the growing demand of essentials.
Radhakishan Damani, the low-profile retailing tycoon behind the DMart supermarket chain, has risen to the second-richest spot for the first time, with a net worth of $13.8 bn. His wealth, according to the Forbes list, increased by a quarter after the shares of Avenue Supermarts, the parent company of DMart, advanced due to a significant surge in the demand for daily essentials.
After Damani, Forbes mentions the name of Shiv Nadar ($11.9 bn), Uday Kotak ($10.4 bn), Gautam Adani ($8.9 bn), Sunil Mittal ($8.8 bn), Cyrus Poonawalla ($8.2 bn), Kumar Birla ($7.6 bn), Laxmi Mittal ($7.4 bn), and Azim Premji ($6.1 bn) in the list of top 10 richest Indians for 2020. Notably, Poonawalla's Serum Institute has been making headlines with the plan of starting the production of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine.
Along with the big names, the Forbes list also includes a dozen new Indian entrepreneurs, including Byju Raveendran, the co-founder of ed-tech unicorn Byju's. The former math tutor-turned-entrepreneur is the youngest entrant in the list, with a net worth of $1.8 bn.