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Illustration photo of an India Rupee note
Reuters/Thomas White
Money maketh man.
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Guess how many Indians earned over Rs500 crore last financial year

By Ananya Bhattacharya

A few people earn a monumental amount of money in India.

Nearly 5.6 million people in the country reportedly earn over Rs10 lakh ($14,043) annually, according to 2018-19 income tax data from the ministry of finance. Of these, fewer than 100,000 earn over Rs1 crore.

The numbers get more and more microscopic as you climb up the ladder. Only 77 make over Rs100 crore. And a mere three people made Rs500 crore—$70 million—in the year. By comparison, 205 Americans made over $50 million last year. Then again, the discrepancy is hardly surprising considering that the US’s per capita income of $62,641 is over 30 times higher than India’s $2,016.

Rangereturns
Rs0170,767
Rs0 to Rs1.5 lakh2,378,193
Rs1.5 lakh to Rs2 lakh1,376,970
Rs2 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh3,787,092
Rs2.5 lakh to Rs3.5 lakh14,275,685
Rs3.5 lakh to Rs4 lakh5,025,936
Rs4 lakh to Rs4.5 lakh4,156,142
Rs4.5 lakh to Rs5 lakh3,783,374
Rs5 lakh to Rs5.5 lakh2,999,708
Rs5.5 lakh to Rs9.5 lakh11,153,567
Rs9.5 lakh to Rs10 lakh600,970
Rs10 lakh to Rs15 lakh3,001,781
Rs15 lakh to Rs20 lakh998,299
Rs20 lakh to Rs25 lakh508,642
Rs25 lakh to Rs50 lakh736,059
Rs50 lakh to Rs1 crore209,345
Rs1 crore to Rs5 crore897,93
Rs5 crore to Rs10 crore5,132
Rs10 crore to Rs25 crore2,089
Rs25 crore to Rs50 crore451
Rs50 crore to Rs100 crore147
Rs100 crore to Rs500 crore74
Over Rs500 crore3
Source:Central Board of Direct Taxes

Surprisingly, India’s richest man is likely not in the top band. Business magnate Mukesh Ambani, chairman, managing director, and the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries (RIL), has capped his annual remuneration at Rs15 crore for 11 years now.

The national cricket team captain and India’s highest-paid sportsperson, Virat Kohli, earned $25 million, which is still under Rs200 crore. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar came close to breaching the threshold at $65 million, or Rs462 crore.

But then, who are the people earning upwards of Rs500 crore? That remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, despite a handful of people earning exorbitant amounts, a majority of the people—over 14 million of them—filed tax returns in the Rs2.5 lakh to Rs3 lakh income bracket.