Ambani and Adani: Easy prey for motivated critics in India

The names Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani is frequently mentioned by motivated critics and activists in India in an attempt to paint these two industrialists as exploiters or even as anti-nationals

N S Venkataraman Feb 12, 2021
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The names Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani is frequently mentioned by motivated critics and activists in India in an attempt to paint these two industrialists as exploiters or even as anti-nationals.
 
It is shocking that in the ongoing debate in India with regard to three farm laws enacted by the Narendra Modi government, the activists, critics, and some opposition political parties have said that the farm bills have been enacted to benefit Ambani and Adani groups. Of course, a section of media highlights such views to sensationalize the matter.  What has Ambani and Adani got to do with the farm bills?

When the Government of India introduce privatization measures for public sector undertakings, the policy of the government is simply dismissed as measures to benefit Ambani and Adani, even without  discussing the merits or the demerits of the government move.

These critics watch every move of the Ambani and Adani group closely to identify loopholes. If they cannot find one then they ingeniously ‘discover’ loopholes by misinterpreting the moves in a variety of ways.

Motivated campaign 

The anti-Ambani and the anti-Adani campaign is conducted with such persistence day in and day out that common man, who is involved in some other activities not related to business or industrial and technological activities and those with little education, tend to believe that Ambani and Adani are bad guys. This is an extremely sad scenario in India today.

Fortunately, these critics have left out other business groups such as the Tata, Birla and others for whatever reasons.  Possibly, this is due to the fact that the pace of achievements and initiatives in promoting industrial growth in India by the Adani and Ambani groups are far greater than that of other groups such as Tata and Birla. This is not to belittle the other industrial groups, who to are serving the cause of India credibly.

For whatever reasons, the fast pace of achievements by the Adani and Ambani group has become an eyesore for the motivated critics,  who seem to be under the mistaken impression that  accusing  the industrialists is the best way of ‘catching the imagination of the people’ and highlighting their activism as pro-poor.  Painting the industrialists, who set up industries and economic enterprises that give jobs to thousands of people directly and indirectly, while adhering to government rules and environmental regulations, as anti-poor is a campaign of the worst kind.

Ambani group has set up the largest world-class petrochemical complex in India and is now in a position to compete with international giant companies.  It has also diversified into other areas such as communication etc. and has brought about a hitherto unknown business speed and standard in such areas.

Adani group has set up several renewable energy plants in India, involved itself in setting up seaports and a variety of other activities. Adani group has set up the largest solar power plant in India in record time and the plant is operating well.  

Whether one would admit or not, the progress in Indian industrial and economic growth would be markedly less today if Ambani and Adani groups have not made such investments and promoted projects.  While certainly several other industrial groups in India are also striving hard to set up projects and government projects are also being set up what is noteworthy about the Ambani and Adani groups are their readiness to take calculated risks and moving in uncharted areas and putting up with the motivated criticisms and abuses and not allowing themselves to be disheartened by such negative aspersions.

Facts speak for themselves 

The facts and figure show the spectacular performance of these two groups in a comparatively short period of time. Of course, when such massive projects are being set up, there could be some problems and failures.

For example, in the Krishna Godavari gas exploration project, the Reliance Industries belonging to Mukesh Ambani has not been able to produce the gas as per expectations due to some technical issues. The government of India has thought it fit to impose a penalty on Reliance Industries for not meeting the assured guarantee of gas production, which is now under litigation.

What is particularly gratifying is that in spite of the failure of the earlier project; Reliance Industries has joined with British Petroleum company and has started gas production recently in new wells, where gas discovery has been made.

When the Adani group was entrusted with the task of administering several airports after the elaborate bidding process, the critics said that the Adani group has been favoured. The fact is that Adani group has provided a bid that is better than all the other bids and won the contract. What is wrong with this? While blindly saying that the Adani group has been favoured, the critics could not point out any valid reason to justify the criticism as a favour shown to the Adani group.

It is extremely distressing that efforts made by the private sector to promote industrialization and economic growth of the country are being decried by activists and some leftist political parties.

Argument against privatization flawed 

The argument against privatization of the public sector, which is the trump card for activists and critics, are totally flawed. The basic and logical theory is that the government is to govern and not to do business. Even communist country like China has largely accepted this theory now.

Entrusting the responsibility for promoting industrial and economic growth to the private sector to some extent is not only a logical step but also the need of the day to promote rapid economic growth.  The private sector promoters are as much committed to the growth of the country as much as the activists and critics.

It is true that some private sector companies have indulged in tax evasion and malpractices. Are not the politicians and activists have been often accused of indulging in corrupt practices and getting illegal funds from abroad?

Corrupt elements have to be punished whether they are private sector promoters or activists and politicians.  Let not the activists and critics think and imagine that ‘they are holier than thou.’

Finally one last question to the activists and critics - how much contribution they have made to the economic and industrial growth of the country and how many jobs they have created and provided.? Loudspeakers are no substitute for performers like Ambani and Adani.

(The writer is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. The views are personal. He can be contacted at nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com)

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