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Germany to invest €1 billion for green urban mobility in India

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New Delhi: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday pledged to invest 1 billion euros over the next five years on environmentally-friendly urban mobility in India.

Chancellor Merkel, whose visit to the country coincided with one of the worst spells of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, also emphasised on the need to replace diesel-run public transport with electric vehicles.

“We have agreed to co-operate on climate protection and green urban mobility and have earmarked 1 billion euros towards this,” Chancellor Merkel said at an event in Delhi.

Germany would also invest 200 million euros to reform the bus sector in Tamil Nadu, she added.

Touching upon the subject of air pollution in Delhi, Chancellor Merkel said that looking at the severity of the situation, it would be a good idea to replace remaining diesel buses with electric ones.

Though most of Delhi’s buses, especially ones run by Delhi Transport Corporation or DTC run on CNG, other buses in the capital and neighbouring cities run on diesel.

Delhi recorded its worst air quality of the season on Friday as the pollution level touched the ‘severe plus’ category, prompting authorities to shut schools till November 5, ban all construction activities and declare a “public health emergency”.

Chancellor Merkel said that Germany would also like to work with India on various segments including healthcare, agriculture and artificial intelligence.

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Forty Indians entered billionaires club in pandemic hit-2020

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Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 40 Indians registered themselves in the billionaires club  as per a survey.

Mukesh Ambani continued to be the wealthiest Indian with a networth of USD 83 billion. The head of Reliance Industries witnessed a 24 per cent jump in fortunes and climbed up one spot to be the eighth richest globally, as per the Hurun Global Rich List.

Gautam Adani from Gujarat, who has had a spectacular rise in fortunes in the last few years, saw his wealth almost doubling to USD 32 billion in 2020 and climbed 20 places to be the 48th richest person globally and the second wealthiest Indian. His brother Vinod’s wealth grew 128 per cent to USD 9.8 billion.

The report compiles individual or family wealth in the year to January 15. It can be noted that the Indian economy is set to contract by over 7 per cent because of the impact of the pandemic, which had forced governments to go for lockdowns that had a debilitating impact on the poor.

The report comes at a time when concerns are being raised about a ‘K-shaped’ recovery being underway, where a select few prosper.

Hurun India’s Managing Director and Chief Researcher Anas Rahman Junaid said Indian wealth creation is dominated by cyclical or traditional industries compared to tech-driven wealth creation in the US and China.

“When the tech-driven wealth creation reaches full potential, India could potentially beat USA in terms of the number of billionaires,” he added.

IT company HCL’s Shiv Nadar was the third wealthiest Indian with a fortune of USD 27 billion while some peers in the tech industry dominated the list of fastest growing wealth.

Jay Chaudhry of software company Zcaler saw a 274 per cent rise in networth to USD 13 billion during the year while Byju Raveendran and family saw a 100 per cent increase in its wealth to USD 2.8 billion, the report said.

Diversified corporate house Mahindra Group’s head Anand Mahindra and family also saw a 100 per cent increase in wealth to USD 2.4 billion, it said.

Among those who saw a decline in their networth during the year was Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Ayurved at USD3.6 billion, down 32 per cent.

The financial capital continues to lead in the country from a concentration perspective, being home to 60 of the 177 Indian billionaires, followed by New Delhi at 40 and Bengaluru at 22 billionaires, it said.

From a gender perspective, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon leads with a networth of USD 4.8 billion (up 41 per cent), Smita V Crishna of Godrej at USD 4.7 billion and Lupin’s Manju Gupta at USD 3.3 billion.

A majority of 118 billionaires were classified as self-made ones in the ranking, as against 932 of the 1,058 billionaires in neighbouring China, which is home to the highest number of billionaires.

Globally, the list is led by Elon Musk of Tesla with a fortune of USD 197 billion followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at USD 189 billion and Frenchman Bernard Arnault of fashion house LVMH at USD 114 billion.

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