India’s billionaires have made huge additions to their net worth, with fascinating strands to the overall weave of wealth

A ranking of 391 billionaires

India’s most exclusive club has been flooded with new entrants, with as many as 89 entrepreneurs paying the billion rupee admission fee

Quite a few are set to storm into the Billionaire Club. We catch up with a few of them

The interesting unlisted billionaires

140 new CEOs join the list of those who earn more than Rs 1 crore a year

Definitive list of India Inc's top earners

How we estimated the wealth and earnings of billionaires

Charge of the entrepreneurs

If anyone needs proof of the growing entrepreneurship in India, all one has to do is go down the list of members in Billionaire Club and the point quickly becomes obvious: India is now hospitable territory for wealth and value creation, and for business success flowing from vision and drive. The real story of this magazine is about India’s growing entrepreneurial class, and the fresh blood that you see in its ranks: the growing clusters of first-generation entrepreneurs.

One way of looking at this is to thank the boom on the stock market since these people’s wealth is calculated on the basis of their holdings of company stock. But impersonal market forces alone cannot explain the surge in successful builders of business. The exponential rise in the number of billionaires is also a result of the well-earned rewards of massive efforts put in by corporate managers and owners to dramatically alter the profile of India Inc during the last few years.

The extraordinary optimistic message that the rich list (89 businessmen entered the hallowed portals of the Club this year) throws up is a simple one –with the opening up of the economy, opportunities have mushroomed in every field, and entrepreneurs have been quick to grab their chances.

Over two-thirds of the promoters listed are from small and medium firms, as our report on the new entrants shows. Billionaire Club is not only a review of those who have made it big, it is also about looking at those who are closing in on the magic mark. As our report on Billionaire Next shows, they all share one thing in common: the passion for excellence in their chosen field of endeavour.

Several billionaires have also kept their wealth away from public gaze. These include a sprinkling of astute businessmen, who keep most of their businesses private, celebrity actors and real estate tycoons. This issue has thus taken a close look at the fascinating story of those who have preferred to remain in the unlisted zone.

While owning the business is still the best way to book a seat in India’s most exclusive club, as is evident from the fact that there were no pure-professional managers among the 17 people who earned Rs 10 crore or more a year, there is no doubt that India Inc is opening its purse strings to win the war for talent.

That explains the growing tribe of managers who earn a crore or more per year. No wonder, Indian salaries, as a whole, are growing faster than those of other countries in the Asia Pacific. Finally, we hope you will gain from the wealth of data on India’s super rich in this issue.

HOME    Business Standard October 2006