- Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in India despite losing a lot of money. BYJU’s founder Byju Raveendran becomes the youngest billionaire of India.
The coronavirus outbreak has inflicted a crippling blow on several Indian businesses. The pandemic is expected to lead to more deterioration of income and company values for business owners after experiencing a downturn over several quarters. Indian billionaires’ total wealth fell 23 percent this year to $313 billion. According to Forbes Billionaires List 2020, the number of billionaires has also declined by four to 102. Yet some smile.
Byju Raveendran, the founder of BYJU’s edtech unicorn, is the youngest billionaire in India. This year the 39-year-old debuted with an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion on the Forbes Billionaires List. He is one of the dozen new entrants in the coveted billionaires’ club.
The other big gainer was Radhakishan Damani, a retail tycoon, founder of Avenue Supermarts (which runs the famous DMart supermarket chain). While his retail peers are still struggling with rising debt and declining profits, Damani’s wealth has risen by nearly 25 percent to $13.8 billion, earning him the title of India’s second-richest individual.
He follows only Mukesh Ambani, who holds the top spot in the group of Indian Millionaires. Nevertheless, the chairman of Reliance Industries has lost almost half of his fortune to stock market crashes and global oil wars, aggravated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Ambani also ceased being the richest man in Asia in March, surrendering his spot to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. According to Forbes his fortune now stands at $36.8 billion, according to Forbes.
The other wealth gainers this year are Adani Group’s Gautam Adani (# 5), and Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal (# 6). Forbes reports that their net worth is respectively $8.9 billion, and $8.8 billion.
They trail HCL founder-chairman Shiv Nadar (# 3) and Kotak Mahindra Bank MD-CEO Uday Kotak (# 4) whose fortunes are $11.9bn and $10.4bn respectively. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji is missing from the top five, and he has promised $21 billion to charity. Premji’s wealth now stands at $6.1 billion and makes him the 10th richest man in India
In reality, this year’s huge charity drive by Premji has impacted Indian billionaires’ collective wealth. “The generosity of tech tycoon Azim Premji, who donated a big chunk of his shares in publicly traded Wipro in 2019 to his foundation, can be traced to close to a fifth of the decline,” Forbes wrote.
It’s no wonder that Premji is often compared to Bill Gates, who has pledged nearly $35 billion to his charity (the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and, ultimately, donated to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos the ‘world’s richest man’ name.