India is becoming a country of millionaires. With each passing day, the number of millionaires seems to be growing in the country: and it is also not a gradual process, instead, it is a sudden boom.
A recent survey conducted by Indicus Analytics states that Delhi has the largest number of millionaires in the country followed by Bangalore and Mumbai.
The survey indicates that in Delhi there are 1.38 lakh (138,000) households earning Rs 10 lakh (1 million) or more a year.
In Bangalore, there are 1.05 lakh (105,000) such households, while in Mumbai there are 1 lakh (100,000) households that belong to this elite club.
The question now is who are these millionaires? Is it the rich getting richer and the poor being wiped out? In both New Delhi and Bangalore, this sudden rise in status could be attributed to real estate prices. This would mean that it is the middle class which has entered into this league.
Take the case of New Delhi. These millionaires largely comprise those who won property in the neighbouring areas of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida. With all these areas developing at a phenomenal pace, these people sell off their lands for huge prices and settle down in Delhi.
In Bangalore, it is no different. Take for instance the case of C P Rajgopal who had purchased an apartment in the Palace Orchards area 20 years back. He had bought it at Rs 1 lakh, but today it is worth over Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million). This indicates a 100-fold jump in the land price.
Currently, there are over 31,17,843 households in the country which belong to the millionaire club. While Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai take the top three slots. Statistics show that Thane has 74,000 such households. If Thane figures were to be added to those of Mumbai, India's business capital would take the top honours.
Strangely metros such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are way down the list: Chennai is ranked 9th, Hyderabad 12th and Kolkata 26th.
The survey shows that Chennai has not proven to be investor-friendly due to the Leftist political ideology that rules West Bengal. Hyderabad is ranked at 12th. Hyderabad. Wealth in Hyderabad, is concentrated only in a small part of the city -- Cyberabad -- while Secunderabad and Hyderabad continue to remain poor.
The other cities which complete the top ten are Ahmedabad, Ernakulum, Surat, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram.
Harish Gupta, an expert on economic and business issues, says that with the growth of the economy, the increase in real estate prices, and also the soaring stock market, there has been an exponential growth in the net worth of a large number of individuals.
Navkesh Batra, an advocate who deals with business houses, says that a large number of people in the higher middle class have migrated into this category of millionaires.
"The trend, however, is disturbing for those who are in the lower middle class category. The upper middle class will become rich while the lower middle class will get poor. In the time to come, the lower middle class people might be totally wiped out," says Batra.
The lower middle class, especially those belonging to the traditional trader community, will face the most problems.
Trends show that the small scale industry, small businesses and service providers might be gobbled up and there will be space only for mega companies with gigantic operations. Only tiny operators who would operate in very niche areas or markets might survive, Batra says.
It is clear that those who took risks in the past and invested in land or stocks, are the ones who are becoming millionaires today. The word wealthy is no longer dirty, says Batra.
Another quick entrant to this millionaire club is the professional from the information technology or business process outsourcing sector. With salaries in the sector going through the roof, many IT, BPO employees have been catapulted into the millionaire category.