The biggest wealth creators

A billion dollars do not guarantee a spot on the list, making such success stories even more commendable

Salil Panchal
Published: Nov 19, 2018 12:12:36 PM IST
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 12:23:52 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Image: Amit Verma

While the number of India’s dollar billionaires continues to rise, the climb to the top has become more gruelling. More than 30 people with an estimated wealth of over $1 billion found themselves off the 2018 Forbes India Rich List. 

Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was the biggest percentage-wise gainer in 2018. Another top gainer was Rajendra Agarwal and family, promoters of privately-held family-run Macleods Pharmaceuticals. Their wealth jumped by 52 percent to $3.5 billion in 2018.

India’s rampant growth in fintech and mobile payments is reflected in the rise of one of its youngest dollar billionaires, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma. He has a net worth of $2.15 billion in 2018—a 46 percent jump over the previous year.

Over the 10-year period of the Rich List, the Godrej family (No 7) has seen its net worth nearly double to $14 billion in 2018, from $7.5 billion in 2010.

Among the gainers is Sun Pharma’s managing director and founder, Dilip Shanghvi, now India’s eighth richest, with a net worth of $12.6 billion. His wealth rose by 142 percent from $5.2 billion in 2010. Sun Pharma faced rough weather in recent years, but Shanghvi expects its India business to “stabilise” in the current fiscal.

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(This story appears in the 23 November, 2018 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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