A soaring stock market propelled the combined wealth of members of the 2021 Forbes list of India’s 100 Richest to a record US$775 billion, after adding $257 billion — a 50 per cent rise — in the past 12 months.
In this bumper year, more than 80 per cent of the listees saw their fortunes increase, with 61 adding $1 billion or more.
At the top of the list is Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person since 2008, with a net worth of $92.7 billion.
Ambani recently outlined plans to pivot into renewable energy with a $10 billion investment by his Reliance Industries.
Close to a fifth of the increase in the collective wealth of India’s 100 richest came from infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani, who ranks No. 2 for the third year in a row. Adani, who is the biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms, nearly tripled his fortune to $74.8 billion from $25.2 billion previously, as shares of all his listed companies soared.
At No. 3 with $31 billion is Shiv Nadar, founder of software giant HCL Technologies, who saw a $10.6 billion boost in his net worth from the country’s buoyant tech sector.
Retailing magnate Radhakishan Damani retained the fourth spot with his net worth nearly doubling to $29.4 billion from $15.4 billion, as his supermarket chain Avenue Supermarts opened 22 new stores in the fiscal year ending March.
India has administered over 870 million Covid-19 vaccine shots to date, thanks partly to Serum Institute of India, founded by vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, who moves into the top five with a net worth of $19 billion. His privately held company makes Covishield under license from AstraZeneca and has other Covid-19 vaccines under development.
India’s recovery from a deadly second wave of Covid-19, which broke out earlier this year, restored investor confidence in the world’s sixth-largest economy.
There are six newcomers on this year’s list, with half of them from the booming chemicals sector. They include Ashok Boob (No. 93, $2.3 billion) whose Clean Science and Technology listed in July; Deepak Mehta (No. 97, $2.05 billion) of Deepak Nitrite and Yogesh Kothari (No. 100, $1.94 billion) of Alkyl Amines Chemicals. Arvind Lal (No. 87, $2.55 billion), the executive chairman of diagnostics chain Dr Lal PathLabs, also debuted on the list after a pandemic-induced surge in testing caused shares of his company to double in the past year.
The country’s IPO rush returned property magnate and politician Mangal Prabhat Lodha (No. 42, $4.5 billion) to the ranks, following the April listing of his Macrotech Developers. Among the four other returnees is Prathap Reddy (No. 88, $2.53 billion), whose listed hospital chain Apollo Hospitals Enterprise has been testing and treating Covid-19 patients.
Eleven listees from last year dropped off, given the increased cut-off for gaining entry to this year’s list. The minimum amount required to make this year’s list was $1.94 billion, up from $1.33 billion last year.
Naazneen Karmali, Asia Wealth Editor and India Editor of Forbes Asia, said: “This year’s list reflects India’s resilience and can-do spirit even as Covid-19 extracted a heavy toll on both lives and livelihoods. Hopes of a V-shaped recovery fueled a stock market rally that propelled the fortunes of India’s wealthiest to new heights. With the minimum net worth to make the ranks approaching $2 billion, the top 100 club is getting more exclusive.”
Maha has maximum GST dues pending with Centre, Congress says ‘stepmom treatment’
Maharashtra, which contributes the highest to the Centre’s GST kitty, has the maximum amount outstanding for the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, a RTI reply has revealed.
The revelations came in response to a RTI query filed by activist Binod Agarwal from the Ministry of Finance, Under Secretary (State Taxes-II) and CPIO Mahendra Nath.
State Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant said that the RTI reply has confirmed what the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has been saying always – that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre is adopting a “step-motherly treatment” towards Maharashtra.
According to the RTI response, of the total GST compensation of Rs 277,752 crore due to states from April 2020-March 2021, Maharashtra’s share was the highest at Rs 40,398 crore.
From this amount, Rs 21,697.65 crore was released from cess proceeds and another Rs 11,977 crore, leaving an outstanding balance of Rs 6,723 crore to the state.
Similarly, for the period April 2021-July 2021, of the total GST compensation of Rs 111,419 crore due to states, Maharashtra accounted for Rs 15,060 crore, the highest.
From this amount, Rs 13,782.36 crore was by way of back to back loan, and Rs 1,278 crore is still outstanding to the state.
In fact, from April 2019 till November 2021, Maharashtra’s dues were Rs 50,374.68 crore, of which it received Rs 11,111.15 crore and Rs 13,782.30 crore as back to back loan, leaving a shortfall of Rs 25,481.23 crore.
In the past couple of years, the MVA government has been continuously pleading with the Centre to release its GST dues and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had shot off a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the same in December 2019, a month after assuming office.
Thackeray met the PM in June to raise the issue along with other pending matters and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress have also raised the matter with the Centre on several occasions.
The ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress leaders, including NCP President Sharad Pawar, have demanded on several occasions that the Centre should expedite the release of the state’s GST dues to help it tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues effectively.
In September 2020, Thackeray had slammed the Centre for not giving its GST dues and forcing the state to take loans, and a month later demanded that if the GST system has failed “then the Centre should it” and revert back to the old system.
Diesel, petrol prices unchanged since early November
Oil marketing companies have continued to keep prices of diesel and petrol unchanged across major Indian cities post revision of duties by the Centre and state governments on the Diwali eve in early November.
Accordingly, diesel and petrol prices in Delhi remained static at Rs 86.67 per litre and Rs 103.97 per litre, respectively on Monday.
In the financial capital Mumbai, they were priced at Rs 94.14 and Rs 109.98, respectively.
Prices also remained static in Kolkata at Rs 89.79 and Rs 104.67, respectively.
In Chennai, petrol and diesel rates remained at Rs 91.43 and Rs 101.40, respectively.
Across the country as well, the price of the fuel largely remained unchanged on Sunday but the retail rates varied depending on the level of local taxes.
The excise duty cut by the Centre on November 3 was the first such exercise since the onset of Covid pandemic.
In fact, the government had revised excise duty on petrol and diesel sharply in March and again in May 2020 to mobilise additional resources for the Covid relief measures.
Equity indices fall marginally in early trade
The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) declined marginally on early trade session on Monday.
At 9.45 a.m. the S&P BSE Sensex traded at 57,044 points, down 0.13 per cent.
It opened at 57,028 points from the previous close of 57,107 points.
Till now it touched a low of 56,382 points.
Besides, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 17,338 points after closing at 17,026 on Friday.
It traded at 16,985 points, down 0.21 per cent during the early-morning trade session.
Adani Green, Adani Transmission, Adani Ports, Bandhan Bank and General Insurance were some of the top losers.
On the contrary, Reliance Industries, Indusind Bank and Dr. Reddy’s Labs were the top gainers in early trade.
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