Saturday, February 24, 2018
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Now, it really makes me wonder if Kejriwal's definition of aam aadmi also include those extremely modest lower middle class families who sacrifice a lot to have their kids get educated to eventually get a job in a Infosys or a Tata Motors and one day also dream of starting their own small ventures thereby becoming an employer from an employee?  Does Kejriwal realise that Dhirubhai Ambani too was a hapless aam aadmi who had the guts to materialise his dreams?  Kejriwal too does not realise the immense harm he is doing by making his anti-gas price hike issue into an aam aadmi vs industry thing.  What he does not realise is the fact that in a country like India with extremely high level of inefficient governments and slack governmental institutions, it has been the private industry which has been producing bulk of products used by the aam aadmi and has also been the place where the aam aadmi essentially goes to work.  From the verge of bankruptcy in 1991, that India today is a $1.7 trillion economy, much of the credit for the same goes to the rise of the Indian private sector most of whose first generation companies in the last two decades were started by middle class Indians from extremely modest backgrounds.

Dhirubhai Ambani was born in an extremely modest family and had worked for quite some time in a petrol pump in Aden, Yemen. Yet in spite of not having any financial or educational backing whatsoever, the prodigal son of a schoolmaster, Dhirubhai Ambani had dreamt big and what he started as a polyester business eventually today has given shape to Reliance Industries which has over $73 billion in sales turnover and is not just of the largest companies of India but one which has helped India in making giant strides in becoming self sufficient in petroleum refining.  If one adds to it the revenue of the companies under Reliance ADAG controlled by his younger son Anil Ambhani, the combined revenue of Reliance as a whole is around $90 billion.  In other words, Dhirubhai Ambani was another aam aadmi who strived hard to create a legacy which was ably carried forward by his two able sons, who instead of wasting what their father created, did justice to it and took it forward to expand the businesses which today have a significant contribution to the Indian economy as a whole. Incidentally both the Reliance entities together contribute more than 5% to the Indian GDP and have made millions of ordinary shareholders, mostly middle class Indians, into millionaires.

The Dhirubhai story is also important for another reason.  It is the story of a poor struggling Indian eventually making it big.  His is the story which inspired several Indians who later on created some of the best Indian companies. Today, probably every young educated Indian has aspiration hidden deep inside his heart, nerve and sinew to eventually one day become an employer from an employee.  He dreams of it in spite of knowing some of the insurmountable challenges ahead of him.  It is a fact that today one of the biggest challenges of corporate India is to retain talented people, many of whom eventually prefer to start their own entities.

Issues of crony capitalism and corruption should always be fought but what is completely unacceptable is the manner in which some political parties like Trinamool Congress or Aam Aadmi Party tend to leverage the perceptual anger of the mass on issues of governance and channelize it to make it an industry vs aam aadmi issue.  The question then that arises is whether the likes of Kejriwal or Mamata who claim to champion the cause of the common man, would always love to see the common man as poor and hapless or would also want to witness his aspirations taking him to better places and eventually the common man being able to fulfil his dreams of becoming reasonably affluent and economically successful. And for that one needs to create jobs which cannot happen without industry, investments and private sector.  In the post liberalisation era, even a diehard communist cannot deny the enormous contribution of the Indian private sector in terms of adding value to the economy, creating jobs as well as entrepreneurial avenues.

Socialism thing is not uncommon but most myopic political parties especially the smaller regional or the young ones tend to forget that the best kind of social work is to generate employment because it is employment generation only, both direct and indirect, that can solve most of the problems of the society. Employment generation cannot happen in the long run with pretension of work and creation of disguised unemployment through populist schemes like MNREGA which do nothing except for doling out money without creating any viable asset in return and eventually such schemes end up doing nothing but raising prices and becoming a drag on the economy.  The likes of Kejriwal for all their posturing simply don't know the difference between crony capitalism and entrepreneurial ingenuity.  A crony capitalist makes money and elopes with that money.  A genuine entrepreneurial venture creates assets which helps the nation in the long run.

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