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Modi ranked world’s ninth most powerful person

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Moving up six spots, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ranked ninth, has for the first time made it to the top 10 in Forbes’ seventh annual list of “The World’s Most Powerful People”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (No.1) takes the top spot out of 73, for the third year in a row, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (No.2) moving up three spots from last year.

US President Barack Obama (No.3) dropped one spot, making it the first year a sitting American president has not made it to the top two spots.

Of Modi, Forbes said: “India’s populist PM presided over 7.4 percent GDP growth in his first year in office, and raised his profile as a global leader during official visits with Barack Obama and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping.”

“A barnstorming tour of Silicon Valley reinforced his nation’s massive importance in tech,” it said.

“But governing 1.2 billion people requires more than shaking hands: Now Modi must pass his party’s reform agenda and keep fractious opposition under control.

The only other Indian figuring in the list was Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is ranked 36.

Ambani, Forbes noted, has retained his position as India’s richest person for close to a decade despite shares of his oil and gas giant Reliance Industries taking a hit due to lower oil prices.

“The $62.2 billion (revenues) firm is preparing for the launch of 4G services by its telecom arm Reliance Jio for which it has teamed up with once-estranged younger sibling Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications,” it noted.

Pope Francis (No.4) retained his place this year, ahead of China’s Xi Jinping (No.5), who fell two spots.

Rounding out the top 10 are Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates (No.6), US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen (No.7), British Prime Minister David Cameron (No.8), and Alphabet CEO Larry Page (No.10).

Page assumed the CEO role at Alphabet this year and, as a result, Google co-founder Sergey Brin (No.30) dropped 21 places from last year.

Forbes said several factors were taken into account to select the 73 people that matter from the 7.3 billion people on the planet: the amount of money they control, the number of people they impact, their total spheres of influence, and how actively they wield their power.

–IANS