In­dia’s wealth­i­est barely hurt by cash clam­p­down

New Straits Times - - Business World -

In­dia’s clam­p­down on cash lost the econ­omy a few bil­lion­aires last year though the rich­est hardly saw their for­tunes hit.

In­dia dropped one spot to No. 4 on the Hu­run Global Rich List as the na­tion lost 11 bil­lion­aires last year while the world added 69. How­ever, the 18 In­di­ans among the top 500 bil­lion­aires saw their wealth drop just 1.5 per cent, ac­cord­ing to the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex.

“The world to­day has 5,000 dol­lar bil­lion­aires, as­sum­ing that for ev­ery one we have found we have missed at least one,” said Ru­pert Hoogew­erf, chair­man and chief re­searcher at Shang­haibased Hu­run Re­port Inc.

The Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex shows that the 18 In­di­ans among the world’s 500 rich­est bil­lion­aires had a com­bined for­tune of about US$149 bil­lion (RM663.28 bil­lion) at the end of last year, down only slightly from US$151 bil­lion in 2015.

The pack is led by Mukesh Am­bani, whose net worth has risen by US$4.5 bil­lion this year af­ter a US$1.1 bil­lion in­crease last year.

Mean­while, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s plan to re­duce re­liance on cash may go awry.

Dig­i­tal transactions are drop­ping be­fore Mon­day’s dead­line to lift all lin­ger­ing caps on cash with­drawals, cen­tral bank data show.

“As re­mon­eti­sa­tion is pickingup, transactions in dig­i­tal econ­omy are fall­ing; sug­gest­ing that cash re­mains the king, at least so far,” said an­a­lysts at Edel­weiss Se­cu­ri­ties Ltd in a March 9 re­port.

Mukesh Am­bani lead the pack whose net worth has risen by US$4.5 bil­lion this year.

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