“Under the Narendra Modi-led government, which returned to power for a second term with a thumping majority in May, economic growth slowed to 5%, a six-year low,” Naazneen Karmali wrote for Forbes.
According to Karmali, the automobile and consumer goods industries were hit particularly hard, with layoffs and production cuts. Fourteen of India’s richest lost at least $1 billion, and nine of last year’s richest didn’t make this year’s list.
The country’s richest man, however, got even richer despite the economic turmoil. Mukesh Ambani, who runs the oil-gas-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, added $4.1 billion to his net worth.
The Ambani family is known for living in a lavish, 27-story skyscraper in Mumbai that cost an estimated $1 billion to build. The weddings of two of Ambani’s children, in December 2018 and March 2019, were attended by the likes of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Hillary Clinton, actress Priyanka Chopra, and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.
The next-richest Indian, Gautam Adani, is worth an estimated $15.7 billion. That may be a whopping $37 billion less than Ambani, but Adani rose eight spots in the past year to become the second-richest man in India. The infrastructure and coal mining billionaire got approval in 2019 to start work on a coal mine in Australia after waiting nine years, according to Forbes. Adani also controls India’s largest port, Mundra Port.
The personal fortunes of French billionaires grew more than twice as fast as those of American and Chinese billionaires in the first half of 2019, Bloomberg’s Alexander Sazonov reported in July, mainly thanks to China’s growing desire for luxury goods.