Where Do India’s Billionaires Get Their Wealth?

By Michael Walton and Aditi Gandhi
Economic & Political Weekly, 10 October 2012

Out of India’s 46 billionaires in 2012, 20 had drawn their primary source of wealth (at least originally) from sectors that can be classified as “rent-thick” (real estate, construction, infrastructure or ports sectors, media, cement, and mining). The remaining 26 billionaires had drawn their primary source of wealth from “other” sectors (IT/software, pharmaceuticals and biotech, finance, liquor and automotives, etc). Overall, 43% of the total number of billionaires, accounting for 60% of billionaire wealth in India, had their primary sources of wealth from rent-thick sectors. Indian capitalism seems to have two faces. Does international experience provide a guide?