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Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of $ 92.7 billion tops 2021 Forbes list of India’s richest

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Mukesh-Ambani

 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.”

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Pakistani rupee falls to yet another historic low against US dollar

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The Pakistani rupee continued to tumble against the US dollar, breaching yet another important threshold of 196 in the interbank market to hit its weakest level on Tuesday, media reports said.

Maintaining its downturn for the eighth successive working day, the Pakistani rupee was being traded at Rs 195.74 against the greenback surpassing its last low, Geo News reported.

A persistent delay in the receipt of the next tranche of $1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is mounting pressure on the rupee.

The situation is likely to remain uncertain for the local currency, Commodities Director Adnan Agar said as the local unit fell below 196-mark against the greenback during the trading session on Tuesday.

“If the government decides to remove subsidies on petroleum products, the rupee will bounce back,” he said, adding that the local unit will remain within the range of 180-185.

Agar, however, added that if the government decided to dissolve the Assembly and move towards early elections, the situation for the already tumbling currency market will deteriorate.

Since the beginning of this fiscal year (July 1, 2021) to date, the rupee has collectively dropped by a massive 24.24 per cent (or Rs 38.2) compared to the previous fiscal year’s close at Rs 157.54.

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5G technology to contribute USD 450 billion to Indian economy: Narendra Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said 5G technology will contribute US Dollar 450 billion to the Indian economy.

Underscoring the role of the telecom sector in the progress of the country, he also said that by the end of this decade, the country will be able to launch 6G services of its own.

Addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Modi said: “It is estimated that in the coming time, 5G will contribute USD 450 bn to the Indian economy. This will not only accelerate internet speed but also boost development and employment.”

“By the end of this decade, we will be able to launch 6G services, our task force is working on it. Our efforts will help our startups to become global champions in the telecom sector and 5G technology,” he said.

He launched a 5G Test Bed, developed by a multi-institutes collaborative project that included a eight institutes led by IIT Madras.

“5G Test Bed is an important step towards the country’s self reliance on critical and modern technology in the telecom sector. The 5G technology is also going to bring positive changes in the governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business,” the Prime Minister said.

This facility will boost growth in every sector – agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics, creating vast employment opportunities, the Prime Minister noted.

Referring to the situation prior to 2014, he said that the growth was slow and in last eight years, the investment has gone up one and half time more than what it used to be in 2014.

With the new initiatives taken by the government, the Prime Minister also said that the call and data rates in India are cheaper than other countries.

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Aborted Kerala Seaplane project to be turned into dam plane service

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 The ambitious sea plane project envisaged during the 2011-16 Oommen Chandy government that got aborted following serious objections from the fisher folk community appears to have taken a new shape with the Pinarayi Vijayan government deciding to turn it into a dam plane project.

If the Chandy government thought of landing the sea plane on water bodies in lakes and rivers, the Vijayan government has proposed the same but has turned the landing of such planes inside the catchment areas of numerous dams in the state.

Chandy’s project was shot down by inland fishermen who eke out a living fishing in lakes and rivers stating that their primary vocation of fishing might get affected because of frequent landing and take off by these sea planes.

According to sources, the same project of sea planes has taken a new shape and the proposed landing and takeoff is now proposed to take place in the catchment areas of the dams.

In Kerala, dams are the properties of the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Kerala Water Authority and so far there have been keen interests shown by about half-a-dozen companies.

If this project turns out to be a success, then the biggest gainer would be the tourism industry in the state as tourists can reach several prime destinations in the state by air, cutting a lot of travel time as roads in the state are congested.

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