Back and welcome
Investors have realised that if businesses have to sustain and grow, an Indian agenda is imperative. The world’s perception of India has changed to one of an emerging market that offers ample opportunities. And the fact that Hindujas are planning to invest $50 billion is definitely welcome.
There is no reason why the Hindujas should not look towards India and partner the country in its march towards achieving double-digit growth.
— Srinivasan Umashankar, through e-mail
Bringing back big money
Kudos to you for they are back (BT, February 10, 2008). The cover story highlights key issues with regard to NRI investment in India. After last year’s Budget, S.P. Hinduja had said: “NRIs still face restrictions, they put us in the foreigner category, NRIs would like to invest but need permission still, which can put off investors.” The Hindujas have long lobbied at the very highest levels of the Indian establishment for parity and have always insisted that even if a person has a British passport, an Indian is an Indian and his investment should be recognised as such. Despite everything, the fact that the group plans to invest close to $50 billion in India over the next few years is an extremely progressive and pragmatic move.
— Sonali Malhotra, through e-mail
Hindujas mean business
The Hindujas are seemingly conservative businessmen and, are perhaps, too risk averse. They were not that active in India even before they got into the Bofors mess. Though they were cleared of the charges, the Hindujas clearly felt stigmatised and offended. But now, with their huge investment plans, they surely mean business. From realty to the core sector—like oil & gas, ports and infrastructure—the Hindujas seem to be covering the whole gamut of the economy. A competitive business environment needs more players of substance to participate. Certainly, it is not too late for them to re-enter India.
— R.K. Sudan, through e-mail
Is media not a newsmaker?
India’s biggest newsmakers (BT, February 10, 2008) was bit of a let down. Media, which is reckoned to be the fourth pillar of democracy, was, sadly, not covered in the survey. You had sectors like aviation and consultancy, so it defies logic why media and entertainment— both TV and print—were conspicous for their absence. The fact that the industry carries substantial weightage on the Indian bourses, with close to Rs 75,000 crore of market capitalisation, just highlights the importance of the sector. People like Subhash Chandra, Ekta Kapoor and Prannoy Roy, who are household names and in the news, did not find any mention in your package.
— Gaurav Maleri, through e-mail
Vedanta shows the way
The report on vedanta alumina in A Mine of Dreams (BT, Feb. 10, 2008) presents a good account of how the company has solved the problem of rehabilitating local people to their satisfaction. If the government and other companies can gain the confidence of local people— by giving them a tangible stake in progress and prosperity— many of the problems arising out of land acquisition can be solved. Ways should be found for development to take place without harming the ecosystem or the environment.
— A. Jacob Sahayam, through e-mail
Litmus test for Anil Ambani
The euphoria over Reliance Power IPO (A Tale of Two RPLs, Feb. 10, 2008) and the unprecedented response from investors was largely because of the Ambani brand name. It is surprising that people should place so much faith in a company that still does not have any credibility or track record to boast of. The company will break even only in 2012, if things go according to plan. So, it is going to be a litmus test for Anil Ambani, and investors can only keep their fingers crossed that their faith is not misplaced.
— Bal Govind, through e-mail
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