Ratan Tata, the scion and one of the most successful and worthy chairmen of Tata Group was in the news again. This time it was not his calls to Niira Radia or his letter to A Raja but it was his comment on the extravagant lifestyle of Mukesh Ambani, his 27 floors of residence, Antilla, his private airliner and so on.
The precise comment was
“It’s sad Mukesh lives in such opulence ……India needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have”.
That got me thinking and soon I was in deep web of frustration that gave me a headache just because of all the questions and no answers. How much is too much? With personal wealth in billions of dollars what have these businessmen given back to their own country which has made them billionaires? Best business practices probably!
Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet donated almost half of their wealth to charity how much has Mukesh Ambani donated? Or how much has Ratan Tata himself Donated? The two biggest business houses in India have been acquiring companies, expanding business, multiplying the wealth. To sum it up they have grown multifold in last two decades since Indian economy has been liberated. The very obvious answer is number of jobs they opened up but will they have created organizations without giving out jobs? I guess plenty of jobs are only the by-product.
I am not against their lifestyle. They have all the right to spend money whichever way they wish, after all they have earned it. But the recent case of 2G scam hurts me as an Indian. How easy it is for people with lots of money to influence the whole system. There have been accusations, trials and even detention, but has it changed the way business works? How many organizations that were awarded telecom licenses have retained those? Most of the companies are either sitting pretty with the licenses or have sold majority stake to a multinational.
Himachal Futuristic (HFCL) that sold its license to Bharti, is almost non-existent today whereas Airtel is India’s biggest Telecom operator. Wrong example probably but where is the Telecom regulatory authority of India, what’s the role they have played? Don’t we need to change the rules for the betterment of our country? When we have examples why can’t we make case studies out of it?
I think, I digressed from the topic but more than giving back to nation isn’t it about what we do, we do it ethically and yes keep in mind the common good for all the people. Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, Kumar Manglam Birla, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Shiv Nadar, Azim Premzi, Vijay Mallaya, Narayan Murthy and all the honchos need not give a penny back to India or Indians. What they need is to ensure that the best business practices are implemented ethically across all deals that take place. If corporate lobby acts ethically and responsibly we would not be deploying resources to locate the Swiss bank funds for billions of dollars.
Isn’t it a very small thing to give back to your country?
[This post has been written & contributed by our regular reader Prashant Mishra]