Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani has once again bagged the number one spot with $51.4 billion net worth on Forbes' list of richest Indians for the year 2019. Infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani came a close second as he jumped 8 spots on the list with a net worth of $15.7 billion.
This is the 12th consecutive year that Ambani has topped the list despite being a 'challenging year' for the Indian economy, according to the American business magazine. Ambani's wealth swelled to $51.4 billion this year.
"Mukesh Ambani remains the richest Indian for the 12th year in a row. He added $4.1 billion to his net worth as Jio, a three-year-old telecom unit of his Reliance Industries, became one of India's biggest mobile carriers with 340 million subscribers," Forbes said.
Meanwhile, Adani who rose 8 spots to bag the second place on the list saw his fortune rise on account of venturing into a "slew of new businesses from airports to data centres".
Ashok Leyland owners Hinduja brothers came third with a net worth of $15.6 billion, Shapoorji Pallonji Group's Pallonji Mistry was on fourth spot with a $15 billion net worth, Kotak Mahindra Bank's Uday Kotak ranked fifth with $14.8 billion net worth followed by HCL Technologies' Shiv Nadar with a net worth of $14.4 billion.
This year also spelled an 8% drop in the total wealth of business tycoons on the Forbes' 2019 list to $452 billion. It had been a "challenging year for the nation's wealthies" owing to economic slowdown.
"In all, 14 were poorer by $1 billion or more, and nine members from last year's ranks dropped off. More than a third of that decline was due to the remarkable largesse of tech tycoon Azim Premji, who gave away a chunk of his fortune in March and consequently dropped in the ranks to No. 17 from No. 2," Forbes said.
The list also included six newcomers who made their debut this year comprising Byju Raveendran (no. 72, $1.91 billion), Manohar Lal and Madhusudan Agarwal (No. 86, $1.7 billion) of Delhi-headquartered Haldiram Snacks and Rajesh Mehra (no. 95, $1.5 billion) of Jaquar.
However, business magnates in the auto and consumer goods space saw a steep drop in their wealth. Autoparts maker Vivek Chaand Sehgal's net worth more than halved to $2.45 billion on account of weak consumer sentiment in the automobile industry.
Expressing hope that India's economy would bounce back soon, Naazneen Karmali, Asia Wealth Editor and India Editor of Forbes Asia enunciated, "While India's slowing economy took a toll on the combined wealth of the nation's 100 richest this year, there were some who defied the odds to charge ahead. Resilience is the hallmark of Indian entrepreneurs, and they have the capacity to take setbacks in their stride. It won't be long before they bounce back."