Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has overtaken Mukesh Ambani to become the wealthiest Indian, according to the annual Forbes list of World Billionaires for 2011 released on Thursday.
With a net worth of $31.1 billion (Rs 1.4 lakh crore), Mittal is ranked sixth richest in the world in a list in which market valuations of listed companies play a major role in the calculation of wealth held in many forms.
The elder Ambani, with $27 billion, down $2 billion, ranked ninth in the world while his younger sibling Anil saw his fortune plunge by $4.5 billion to $8.8 billion.
Except Mittal, Kumar Birla and Adi Godrej, every other Indian in top-10 has seen a fall in their fortunes.
Globally, Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecom baron stayed the richest, increasing his worth by $ 20.5 billion.
India, with its 55 billionaires, has the third largest pool of billionaires, after the US and China.
"India's number of billionaires did not increase much but their average net worth is - $ 4.5 billion," said Steve Forbes, Chief Executive, Forbes.
Eight Indians have dropped out of the list, including Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka,
co-founders of DB Realty, linked in the 2G spectrum telecom scandal that has led to Balwa's arrest recently.
Nearly a dozen Indians joined the billionaire list including energy entrepreneur Ajay Kalsi, who lives in London, and Aloke Lohia, who runs a polyester business out of Thailand.
Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) produced half of the world's 214 new billionaires. That's more than twice the 97 they had last year.
India has seven billionaires in the top 100 richest people in the world. China has just one billionaire in the top 100, as against Russia's 15 and Brazil's 3.
Thanks to his giving away a big slice of his wealth, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, once the world's wealthiest man, is the second richest man in the world with a net worth of $ 46 billion.