by Rahul Das 12 July 2020
India’s business tycoon Mukesh Ambani enters world top 10 richest list, according to Forbes Real-Time billionaires list with his net worth rising $ 5.3 billion $2 64.6 billion ( Rs 4.9 lakh crore) at a time when the country is suffering from a deep economic crisis, financial growth is shrinking, Industrial Production is declining at an unprecedented rate, and there is no source of income for the common man due to the Corona epidemic.[i] In addition to entering the least of the 10 richest people in the world, he surpassed China’s Jack ma to became the richest man in Asia.[ii] His net worth increased by over 12 times from $ 5.30 to $ 64.6 billion.[iii]
Significantly, Mukesh Ambani’s Fortune has skyrocketed at a time when the capital market, like the general economy, is in a deep slump due to the pandemic. Ambani who owns 42% stake in Reliance industries, has benefited by investing in Jio, the digital arm of Reliance Industries.[iv] Reliance claims that with all these investments they wanted to be debt free in the market, and they succeeded.[v] Ambani’s share price doubled between March and June, when other billionaires suffered huge losses due to the capital market slump.[vi] It was during this time that the corona epidemic spread rapidly throughout the world, including India. During this time there have been lockdowns all over the world, billions of people have lost their jobs, 140 million people have lost their jobs in India alone.
This paradox, while seemingly surprising, is rooted in the India’s economic structure. While it is a shame for a billionaire to become richer during an epidemic, it is never a coincidence. This incident exposed the severely discriminatory distribution of the country’s economy. The richest 1% own 73% of the country’s total wealth.[vii] The resources that are generated flows to the 1% of the people at the top of the economic structure of the country. Flows because there is a way to flow. Flows because the government helps to flow. There are serious allegations that during the epidemic, all the rules and regulations in the capital market were changed by the government to benefit Mukesh Ambani. The government has made this arrangement so that Mukesh Ambani’s investments can make huge profits.[viii] He raises profits unnoticed during pandemic so no one can question. There can be no doubt that the government has directly and indirectly acted as a catalyst in increasing his wealth.[ix] Reliance Jio has attracted a total investment of 1.5 billion, more than half of the total investment in the Global telecom market. Meanwhile the Indian telecom market is being opened only for Ambani. As a result, other companies are falling behind in the competition with Ambani.[x] The government has ruined its own telecommunication company BSNL.[xi] Now Ambani-owned Jio has monopolized the whole Indian telecom market. Reliance is benefiting from the fact that the government continues to raise the price of petroleum products in the Indian market despite lower prices in the international market. Reliance is now the most profitable company in the Indian petroleum market, surpassing Indian Oil.[xii] Therefore, in the near future, the fate of Indian oil is going to be same as that of BSNL. The media has always been promoting the greatness of Mukesh Ambani. He owns a huge media network himself. The media has always propagated that his wealth has increased due to his intelligence and foresight. The government’s biased role in increasing his wealth has always been kept hidden.
The epidemic has clearly shown how vulnerable human life is. Millions of people around the world have died from the coronavirus outbreak.[xiii] Even more people will die in the near future due to unemployment as a result of the lockdown to prevent coronavirus transmission. The poor and working class people have suffered the most as a result of the lockdown. Millions of migrant workers have had to leave their jobs.[xiv] A large number of workers have lost their jobs due to the closure of many factories. The owners did not even pay their dues. A quarter of the India’s workers are unemployed today.[xv] The measures taken by the State to feed them are not enough.[xvi] But Ambani, Who is at the pinnacle of luxury is taking advantage of the epidemic to become richer.
[i] Mukesh Ambani enters world Top-10 richest list, as net worth jumps to $64.6 bn. 19 June 2020. CNBCTV 18. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbctv18.com/business/mukesh-ambani-world-top-10-richest-forbes-6171081.htm/amp
[ii] Upadhyay, Jayshree P.22 April 2020. Mukesh Ambani tops Jack Ma as Asia’s richest person. Live Mint. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livemint.com/news/india/mukesh-ambani-tops-jack-ma-as-asia-s-richest-person-after-facebook-deal/amp-11587558545203.html
[iii] Kamath, Pritish. 20 June 2020. Mukesh Ambani joins club of world’s 10 richest as net worth jumps to $65.6 BN. Republic world. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.republicworld.com/amp/business-news/india-business/mukesh-ambani-reliance-jio-platforms-forbes-top-ten-richest-world.html
[iv] Mukesh Ambani’s Jio platforms scores a hat-trick; bags Rs 11,367 cr investment from vista after FB, Silver Lake, 8 May 2020. Business today. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.businesstoday.in/lite/story/mukesh-ambani-jio-platforms-scores-hattrick-bags-rs-11367-crore-investment-from-vista/1/403200.html
[v] Bahree, Megha. 18 June 2020. Mukesh Ambani Sells Nearly A Quarter of His Jio Platforms, Makes Reliance Net Debt-Free. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/meghabahree/2020/06/18/asias-richest-man-mukesh-ambani-sells-nearly-a-quarter-of-his-jio-platforms/amp/
[vi] Panciano, Jonathan, 09 May 2020. The World’s 10 Richest Billionaires Lose $38 Billion on Coronavirus-Spurred ‘Black Monday’. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanponciano/2020/03/09/the-worlds-10-richest-people-lose-38-billion-on-coronavirus-spurred-black-monday/amp/
[vii] India’s richest 1% corner 73% of wealth generation : survey. 22 January 2018. Times of India. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.timesofindia.com/business/india-business/indias-richest-1-corner-73-of-wealth-generation-survey/amp_articleshow/62598222.cms
[viii] Srujana, Bodapati. 3 May 2019. The Billionaire Beneficiaries of BJP’s Schemes. News Click. Retrieved from https://www.newsclick.in/BJP-Schemes-Modi-Ambani-Adani-Baba-Ramdev-Indian-Billionaire
[ix] Verma, Subodh. 13 October 2019.Under Modi Rule, Ambani, Adani, Have Doubled Their Wealth. News Click. Retrieved from https://www.newsclick.in/Under-Modi-Rule-Ambani-Adani-Have-Doubled-Their-Wealth
[x] Reliance Jio may capture 48% of Indian-telecom market by 2025, says Bernstein. 17 June 2020.Business today. Retrieved from https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/reliance-jio-may-capture-48-of-indian-telecom-market-by-2025-says-bernstein/story/407212.html
[xi] Government not sincere to resolve BSNL problems, delaying decision to benefit private telecom : BSNL union, 18 February 2019. Economic Times. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.economictimes.com/industry/telecom/telecom-news/government-not-sincere-to-resolve-bsnl-problem-delaying-decision-to-benefit-private-telecom-bsnl-union/amp_articleshow/68052175.cms
[xii] Reliance topples Indian Oil to become the biggest Indian company. 21 May 2019. Energy World. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/amp/news/oil-and-gas/reliance-topples-indian-oil-to-become-the-biggest-indian-company/69427924
[xiii] Covid-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. 28 June 2020. World o meter. Retrieved from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?isci=010702
[xiv] Strauss, Delphine. 24 June 2020. Ten of millions of migrant workers face job loses and poverty. Financial Times. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.ft.com/content/c01a38f4-f314-4232-afcc-bdbb7aa0b130
[xv] About 400 million workers in India may sink into poverty : UN report. 08 April 2020.Economic Times. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.economictimes.com/news/economy/indicators/about-400-million-workers-in-india-may-sink-into-poverty-un-report/amp_articleshow/75041922.cms
[xvi] Bhattacharya. Sindhu. 26 March 2020. Why Govt’s Food Security Pledge is Unlikely to Help the Poor During 21-Day India Lockdown. News 18. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.news18.com/amp/news/opinion/why-govts-food-security-pledge-is-unlikely-to-help-the-poor-during-21-day-india-lockdown-2552377.html