India is a country with a diverse economy that has experienced steady growth for more than 10 years. As the country continues to position itself as a world power, India's elite class of billionaires also continue to climb the ranks to place themselves high among the richest people on the globe. India's batch of billionaires nearly doubled in 2009 and rose again in 2010, taking the country's total of ten-figure earners to 69. Although not all of the billionaires live in their home country, their large economic presence still makes a positive mark on India's reputation on the global stage. (Emerging markets like India are fast becoming engines for future growth. Find out how to get in on the ground floor. Read The Indian Stock Market 101.)
IN PICTURES: How To Make Your First $1 Million
Ambani is the richest person in India. In 2009, He was also ranked number seven on Forbes' list of the World's Billionaires in 2009 with a net worth of $19.5 billion. He increased his wealth to $29 billion in 2010, placing him at number four on the list for that year. Ambani inherited his riches from his late father who founded Reliance Petroleum, but he has not rested on his laurels. He is chief of India's most valuable company, Reliance Industries, a major player in the petrochemical, oil and gas industries. He is also the owner of a cricket team called the Mumbai Indians. Ambani's estranged brother Anil also inherited money from the family business, securing a second spot for the family in India's billionaires club.
The steel business has been good for Mittal, a top Indian billionaire and the fifth richest person in the world. He makes his living as the leader of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest producer of steel, with operations in more than 60 countries. Mittal's net worth is valued at 28.7 billion. He resides in one of London's most affluent neighborhoods in a mansion that was listed as Britain's most expensive home in 2008. (Becoming a millionaire is not as hard as you might think - it just takes time. Check out 6 Simple Steps To $1 Million.)
Shashi and Ravi Ruia
The Mumbai-based brothers run the Essar Group, a diversified company with interests in oil, power and steel. Their collective net worth is $13 billion. They also maintain offices in London as part of their global expansion efforts. In 2010, the brothers attained assets in Africa including coal mines, half of an oil refinery and a call center.
Kushal Pal Singh
The Indian real-estate mogul has a net worth of $9 million. His company, which builds luxury residential complexes, holiday facilities, shopping malls and apartments among other projects, is the most valuable real estate firm in India.
IN PICTURES: Retire A Millionaire In 10 Steps
A female billionaire in India, Jindal inherited her $14.4 billion fortune after her husband died in a helicopter crash in 2005. Her husband became a billionaire as founder of O.P. Jindal Group, a steel and power company that Jindal's four sons now operate. India's richest woman devotes most of her time to public life as a representative for the Hisar constituency in the Haryana Legislative Assembly, a post previously held by her late husband.
Called "India's Bill Gates" by Forbes magazine, the Bangalore native is the owner of India's third largest software exporter and has a net worth of $17 billion. The comparisons to Microsoft's founder are also drawn because of Premji's philanthropic efforts. He announced that he plans to give away most of his wealth to charity during his lifetime. He is also the funder of his Azim Premji Foundation which works to promote improved education in India's government-run elementary schools.
The industrialist began building his empire in the late 1980s after dropping out of college. His Adani Group is involved in a variety of ventures including real estate, energy, commodity trade, port management and oil. The firm controls Mundra Port, the largest in India's private sector. His net worth is $10.7 billion, according to Forbes. (These ten entrepreneurs' names will live on long into the future - perhaps even after their enterprises are gone. See The 10 Greatest Entrepreneurs.)
The Bottom Line
From self-made entrepreneurs to those who inherited wealth and now work to maintain it, India's top billionaires are making a name for themselves on the world stage.
For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Goodbye 2010 (And Good Riddance?)