Men like Mallya and Modi were members of India’s expanding billionaire class, of whom there are now 119 members, according to Forbes magazine. Last year their collective worth amounted to $440bn – more than in any other country, bar the US and China. By contrast, the average person in India earns barely $1,700 a year. Given its early stage of economic development, India’s new hyper-wealthy elite have accumulated more money, more quickly, than their plutocratic peers in almost any country in history.
The point rather being that the staggering economic growth in an economy of 1.2 billion people is going to produce some winners.
The Ambani Brothers for example, one’s lost a fortune, the other gained one, the competition between the two having brought lower cost mobile telecoms and internet to hundreds of millions. The winners being – the hundreds of millions of course.
Narendra Modi pledged to end a situation in which the country’s ultra-wealthy – sometimes called “Bollygarchs” – appeared to live by one set of rules, while India’s 1.3 billion people operated by another. Yet as they continue to hide out in cities like London, men like Mallya and Nirav Modi have come to be seen as representing the failure of that pledge;
That they’re in London hiding out would seem to show that the Indian authorities are no longer doormats for the rich….