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Business News/ Companies / People/  Indian Express releases list of Top 100 Influential Indians of 2024: Gautam Adani takes spot above Mukesh Ambani
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Indian Express releases list of Top 100 Influential Indians of 2024: Gautam Adani takes spot above Mukesh Ambani

Among the business names this year, it is notable that industrialist Gautam Adani made it into the top 10 and beat out fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani on the ladder by one position.

Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani group; and Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd (File Illustration)Premium
Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani group; and Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd (File Illustration)

The Indian Express released its list of 'Top 100 Most Influential Indians of 2024' today on February 29, capturing personalities across the political, business, entertainment and sports spectrums, who influence the country.

Among the business names this year, it is notable that industrialist Gautam Adani made it into the top 10 and beat out fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani on the ladder by one position. Also notable is that he jumped 33 spots since last year's position.

Further in the business landscape, Azim Premji stands out at #37, a testament to his philanthropic contributions; while Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani sees a remarkable boost of 44 ranks, now at #95, after headlining a government online initiative.

Also Read | PM Modi, Amit Shah emerge as two-most ‘powerful’ Indians in 2024. Read top-10 names here

Adani Overtakes Ambani in Influence

Chairman of the Adani Group, 61-year-old Gautam Adani rounded up the top 10 of the Top 100 list, beating out Reliance Industries (RIL) Mukesh Ambani by one spot. Giving reason for why Adani makes the top 10, the paper said that he has spearheaded "rapid progress in various infrastructure sectors such as cement, power, airport, green energy, ports, power and gas distribution" through acquisitions and greenfield projects.

Adani is also the second richest Indian with a net worth of $101 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (BBI). The paper noted that despite being hit by the Hindenberg Research accusations of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, the group has "bounced back" and stocks have since recovered their losses.

Besides this, he has been in the news after the Opposition in the Parliament alleged that his "closeness" to the ruling party has benefitted his conglomerate.

In terms of plans, it noted the Adani Group's plans for 7 lakh crore investment in airports, green energy, ports and power sectors, besides making roadways into the news and media space.

It also noted Adani's online presence on social media site X (formerly known as Twitter), where the billionaire has 1 million followers: @gautam_adani.

Mukesh Ambani takes 11th Spot

The list acknowledged RIL CMD Mukesh Ambani's move to strengthen the conglomerate through investments in "new energy, reorganisation and succession planning", it said — this includes listing of Jio Financial Services (JFS); and the Ambani children Akash (heading Jio's digital business), Isha (heading retail arm Reliance Retail) and Anant (heading energy business) taking spots on the RIL board.

In terms of capitalising on the artificial intelligence wave, RIL is also backing BharatGPT and is set to launch its Hanooman AI model for India.

It further noted that 66-year-old Ambani is the richest Indian with a net worth of $109 billion, as per BBI. Besides personal wealth, RIL recently became the most-valued listed company in India after its market capitalisation touched 20 lakh crore.

In terms of plans, the likely listing of Jio Platform and Reliance Retail; and the construction of the world's biggest integrated renewable manufacturing facility over 5,000 acres in Jamnagar, called the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex are generating buzz.

Notably, however, Ambani has no social media presence.

Top 100 Influential Indians of 2024

As the Lok Sabha 2024 Elections approach, the list underscored the enduring strength of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Multiple party members took top spots — among whom for the seventh consecutive year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah secured the top two positions in the power list.

The top 10 is exclusively occupied by RSS/BJP figures, with exceptions being Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud at #4 and business mogul Adani at #10.

The opposition meanwhile found representation only in the subsequent 10 ranks, with Mamata Banerjee leading the pack at #15, ahead of Rahul Gandhi at #16 and Arvind Kejriwal at #18. The three's high presence is attributed to their resilience in the face of BJP's dominance.

Southern leaders too looked formidable with Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin securing positions in the high 20s — at #22 and #25, respectively, forming a bulwark against the BJP's expansion.

Besides politicians, Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra at #46 and wrestler Vinesh Phogat at #100 make their mark on the list. Shah Rukh Khan rose to #27, while Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone represent the surge of women in Bollywood at #79 and closely followed at #80, respectively.

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 09:13 AM IST
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