World's Richest

India

In the 1990s India barely registered on the world’s finance radar, but by 2012 its population of billionaires had rose from two to a staggering 46. The majority of these wealthy citizens have made their fortune in various business undertakings, from telecommunications to manufacturing, pharmaceuticals to the steel industry.  Some have inherited companies while others are self-made, but the majority of Indian billionaires are involved in philanthropic work—mostly notably the creation of schools and revitalization of India’s educational system.  The Top 10 Billionaires are listed below, in descending order of net worth.

1. Mukesh Ambani, £14 Billion

Born in 1957, Mukesh Ambani is the CEO and chairman of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), an energy conglomerate considered to be the number-one company in India.  Besides being India’s richest man, he is the second-richest person in Asia, and ranked nineteenth in overall wealth worldwide.  After joining Reliance Industries in 1981, Ambani proceeded to switch the company from producing textiles and synthetic fibres to petrochemicals and petroleum refinement, then finally to the production of oil and gas.  He is a member of Bank of America’s board of directors.  His private 27-storey building in Mumbai is considered the most expensive home in the world.

2. Lakshmi Mittal, £13 Billion

CEO and chairman of, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel manufacturer, Lakshmi Mittal remains the richest man living in Europe despite having lost £6.5 Billion in 2011.  He has a 34-percent holding in the Queens Park Rangers football team, sits on the board of directors of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, is a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council, and sits on the Kellogg School of Management’s advisory board.  A noted philanthropist, Mittal is known for his generous donations to Indian Olympian athletics through the Mittal Champions Trust, establishing the LNM Institute of Information Technology in Jaipur, and founding New Delhi’s Usha Lakshmi Mittal Institute of Management.

3. Azim Premji, £10 Billion

After ushering Wipro Limited, the company for which he is the chairman, through over forty years of continued development to become one of the strongest Indian software conglomerates in the industry, Azim Premji has singled himself out as one of India’s most successful business tycoons.  Since the mid-1980s he has been a generous philanthropist, with his most charitable gesture being his establishment of the Wipro Equity Reward Trust, which gives Wipro employees the opportunity to receive shares and other benefits from the company—perks usually only enjoyed by upper management.  An advocate for quality, universal education, Premji founded the Azim Premji Foundation in 2001 and continues to regularly contribute to education research and system reform in India’s government-run schools.

4. Savitri Jindal, £6.9 Billion

One of the few wealthy women in India (and ostensibly the world), Savitri Jindal inherited the wealth after her husband, O.P. Jindal, was killed in a 2005 helicopter crash.  Jindal and her immediate family thus assumed control of her husband’s steel conglomerate, the O.P. Jindal Group, of which she is now the non-executive chairperson.  Until 2010 she was also the Minister of Power for the Government of Haryana.  Despite being listed by Forbes as the world’s 80thmost-wealthy person, amongst billionaire mothers she is noted to have the most children—she has nine.

5. Sunil Mittal, £5.1 Billion

Unlike India’s wealthiest billionaires, Sunil Mittal did not inherit his wealth or company; he is a self-made billionaire and first-generation entrepreneur.  One of the first Indian business owners to identify the mobile telecom sector as a major growth area, he founded Bharti Enterprises, which now runs the largest GSM-based mobile phone service in India (and fifth-largest worldwide, with 190 million customers in both Asia and Africa).  In 2007 he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India’s highest civilian award.  Considered one of the world’s top 25 philanthropists, Mittal is committed to country’s education and works with the Bharti Foundation to establish schools throughout India.

6. Kumar Birla, £8 Billion

After his father’s death in 1995, a then-28-year-old Kumar Birla assumed control of the Aditya Birla Group despite strong speculation and doubt regarding his ability to run the company successfully.  He quickly proved the skeptics wrong by becoming one of India’s most respected industrialists by increasing his company’s turnover from £1.26 Billion to £20.8 Billion and expanding the borders of its operation to include more than forty countries, including all of North America and China.  The AB Group has become India’s third-largest house of business, and Birla has since become Chancellor of the Birla Institute of Technology & Science.

7. Anil Ambani, £5 Billion

Anil Ambani is the elder brother of India’s wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani, and chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, one of India’s largest private conglomerates.  After joining his late father’s company, Reliance Industries, as CO-Chief Executive Officer in 1983, Ambani went on to pioneer multiple innovations in the Indian capital market, and, along with his brother, helped the Reliance Group become the leader in Indian textiles, power, telecom, and petrochemicals.  In 1997 he was designated by India’s leading business magazine,Business India,as Businessman of the Year, but during the financial crash of 2008, he lost a staggering £20.4 Billion.

8. Dilip Shanghvi, £4.9 Billion

Another of India’s rare self-made billionaires, Dilip Shanghvi is the managing director of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, a company he founded in 1983 that has now become the third-largest and most-profitable Indian drugmaker.  After starting with five psychiatry-related products at its inception, Sun Pharma went on to introduce products for cardiology and gastroenterology in 1987 and 1987, respectively.  Today it is the leading producer of chronic prescriptions in India, with 57-percent of its sales in non-Indian markets—most notably the US.  The majority of Shanghvi’s success is attributed to mergers with and acquisitions of other key pharmaceutical companies.

9. Shashi and Ravi Ruia, £4.4 Billion

Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia are integral parts of the Indian multinational conglomerate, Essar Group, which they inherited in 1969 after the death of their father.  Though initially a small construction company, Essar Group is now present in multiple sectors including communications, energy, logistics, and steel.  In 2011, after suspected corruption of the sale of India’s 2G Spectrum, Ravi Ruia (along with two other executives, excluding his brother) was charged by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.  The name of their corporation (Essar), is derived from the initials of the brothers’ combined first names.

10. Kushal Pal Singh, £4 Billion

After the merger of the company he’d joined in 1960, American Universal Electric Company, with DLF Universal, Kushal Pal Singh became DLF’s managing director.  The company is now the largest real estate company in the world, building residential, business, and retail properties.  Singh is considered the richest property director in the world.  In 2011 Jack Welch published Singh’s autobiography, titledWhatever the Odds: The Incredible Story Behind DLF.  Considered an important contributor to society, he has received multiple awards for his work, including the Delhi Ratna Award and the Padma Bhusan Award.

Company : 1902 Media