When then finance minister P Chidambaram in 2013 first proposed a 10% surcharge on tax on people earning Rs 1 crore or more in a year, he probably had some super-rich ultra high networth individuals in mind, so called because of the overwhelming amount of wealth they possess. As it turns out, there are quite a few of them in India — 4,510 to be precise, a recent study shows. Each of these 4,510 people had at least $30 million (close to Rs 200 crore) in wealth and assets in 2016, the Wealth-X World Ultra Wealth Report 2017 says.
Their combined wealth is at a staggering $604 billion, or close to Rs 39 lakh crore. The number of the ultra high networth individuals in India grew by 8.5% in the last year, which means that about 370 people entered the club last year, riding on the back of robust economic activity. “Ongoing reforms in India continued to support robust economic activity, despite the disruption of a banknote demonetisation in November,” the report says.
Not only this, the number of ultra wealthy people in India will continue to rise at an envious pace, the report says. “Much of the expansion of the global ultra wealthy population will be driven by Asia, notably China and increasingly India — the latter is likely to emerge as the region’s fastest-growing large economy,” it says.
Meanwhile, so far, not to much surprise, it’s the United States of America which has the highest ultra high networth individuals population, topping the charts with 73,110 super rich people, which is more than the combined super rich population of the next six countries on the list. The total wealth of the ultra wealthy in the US is at $8.72 trillion — more than four times India’s total GDP.
While the combined wealth of the super rich in North America and Asia region grew at the fastest pace in 2016, while Latin America and the Caribbean actually lost some wealth, primarily owing to the currency movements. “One notable development in 2016 was the diverging wealth patterns in many of the world’s major economies. Whereas the US, Japan, India and Indonesia all generated substantial additional wealth, sizeable losses were recorded in the UK, Russia, Mexico and Brazil,” the report says.
“Currency movements were a key driver of these contrasting fortunes – an indication of heightened market instability throughout the year – although other broader trends in global markets and country-specific events were also at play,” it says.
Across the globe, there were 226,450 ultra high networth individuals in 2016, with the world’s super rich population growing by 3.5% in the year despite political and market uncertainty, the report says. The growth in this population in 2016 followed a decline in the number of the ultra wealthy people in 2015, it adds. The combined wealth of these people in 2016 increased by 1.5% to $27 trillion.