If you take away the one-day cricket loss to Australia (we managed, though, to nail the Aussies in Twenty20), it’s been a fantastic month as an Indian. Spectacularly the Sensex became the world’s 20 th bourse to scale 20K, for the very first time. Thanks to the soaring share price rally on his three group companies—Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd.—Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of $ 63.2 billion (Rs 2,49,108 crore) became the richest man in the world on October 29. Courtesy the bull run in the Indian stock market, he surpassed the likes of software czar Bill Gates, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, investment top gun Warren Buffet, and steel magnate L.N. Mittal. It is some achievement indeed, and it augurs well that in the top 10 rich list of the world, we already have two Indians.
And if you are an NRI or a PIO reading this, you need to be proud, and not just because of Mittal’s position. The latest data released by the World Bank corroborate says that India has pipped China and Mexico to become the top remittance receiving country in the world. NRI remittances in 2006 from Indians overseas totalled $ 25.7 billion (roughly Rs 1,28,500 crore) followed by Mexico ($24.7 billion), China ($22.5 billion) and the Philippines ($14.9 billion). The magnitude of the remittances can be judged by the fact that they exceed by three times the total foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country in 2006.
Part of the reason that India gets so much money from the overseas Indian community is because of success stories like that of U.K.-based but Punjab-born businessman Surinder Arora, the subject of our cover story. Arora was by no means born with a silver-spoon in his mouth his mother juggled three jobs at one point in time to support the family. Today, Arora owns the biggest family-run independent hotel chain in Britain. We’ve focused on his latest project, the £ 180m Softel Hotel, the only one to be built at Heathrow’s new terminal that will open next summer as part of preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
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