It is well known that India’s best breed of industrialists Tata (of TISCO and Tata Motors) and Birla (Hindalco) for over 5 decades are in serious trouble while taking up expansion overseas. Yes, they made serious errors and in normal course, they may not have deserved the help for their follies.
However, the circumstances are entirely different now. We are in middle of severest form of credit crisis. Although Tata and Birla are well known in India, they are not as much known overseas. Since almost all western banks are in trouble, they are unable to raise necessary finance their overseas acquisition – Corus (for Tata Steel), Jaguar (for Tata Motors) and Novelis (for Hindalco). They are now at the mercy of the foreign vultures.
Should India and Indians abandon these worthy Industrialists who created millions of jobs, made India independent in basic industries without foreign help, donated thousands of crores in charities in building temples (Birla Temple in Shahad, Kalyan (Maharashtra) is one of them), educational institutions like BIT (Birla Institute of Technology), Tata Institute of Social Science (TISC at Chembur, Mumbai) Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), hospitals, schools, nurseries, Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) and what not for the benefit of Indian society regardless of cast, creed or color, and also paid thousands of crores of Income Tax, Excise duty, Sales Taxes, Professional taxes to the national and state exchequer for over 60 years?
It is causing sleepless nights to both Ratan Tata (in his early seventy) and Kumar Mangalam Birla (who is relatively younger). They deserve better retirement days. We have to make their lives better towards the fag end of their life in recognition of their contribution to the massive development of India and Indians as whole. These two industrialists never bothered about India’s deep divide religious fabrics while creating industries for themselves and millions of Indian back home. Without them, India would not have been 60% of what it is today.
Ratan Tata is going pillar to post for lousy $12 billions whereas Mr. Birla for paltry $5 to 6 billions to finance their overseas acquisitions. When the world is denying them these paltry sum, for its own reasons of bankruptcy, why not India with over $300 billions of Forex reserve which is earning lousy 1 or 2% interest and invested in bankrupt country like USA, help our own businessmen whose acumen is beyond doubt.
Charity begins at home. India as nation must help these two outstanding businessmen. They may not long for Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan or similar khitabs. They need material help at the time of their acute distress. If Indian Forex Reserve does not come to the help of India’s best industrialists, what is the use? Should we allow our Forex reserve for the use of Americans who has been simply wasting all resources and using them to create toxic waste.
Indian FOREX Reserve belongs to the Indians and must be used for Indians first and others later.
And I do not suggest that you give them free money. Give them the amount required as under after due scrutiny.
- Assess their requirements and be wetted by top financial institution.
- Work out how much amount they need
- Give them @ 5% in foreign currency non subordinated Convertible Bonds secured by the floating pari pasu charge on their respective enterprise.
- Such bonds may carry conversion rights at last 6 months average prices of their respective shares, exercisable only after 5 years.
- It may have buy back clause at 8% premium per year for the life of 15 years. This will help these guys to buy back the bonds when they are comfortable without diluting their equity stakes when the things improve.
- If the Government wishes, it may sell these bonds in the market with huge profit (because current stock prices are very low), after giving respective companies to buy back the bonds.
- When the things improve, they can raise the capital from the market to buy back these bonds.
- Give them loans repayable in 15 years due to depression prevailing all over the world.
- Ask them to pay special tax @ 3% after initial 5 years so as to relieve the interest burden during early phase of management. National exchequer may also be benefited for help rendered.
- Ask them to give India at least 5 hospitals and 5 Technical Institutes with full management rights vested with the respective group companies on purely voluntary basis. (we can trust them)
- Ask them to adopt at least 5 villages to make them into model town in next 15 years on voluntary basis. (again, we can trust them)
- Indian tax payers are not affected with this help. Their advance is fully secured and given to the industrialists they trust most.
This is the only way of really honouring our beloved industrialists. It is not going to set the precedents, if you are worrying about them. Even if it is setting precedent, it is a good one. It is one of the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India under Directive Principles of State Policy from Article 36 to 51. One of the article is quoted below:
Directive Principles of State Policy as enshrined in Constitution of India
State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.—’[(l)j The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.]
Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State.—The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing—
(a) That the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
(b) That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good:
By following above policy, the state will be preserving the jobs of the millions of workers in India
Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Finance Minister, the time is critical. Do not even flinch while extending help. If you do not, their enterprises could slip into foreign hands, could cause huge job losses back home that may have devastating social consequences. The material resources of this country are in danger of losing to foreign hands, if our own people are not helped.
This is the appeal not only from this Kalidas (Anil Selarka) but also millions of investors in India. Read the following sample poll from learned investors from India and let them help you in forming your final decision. God Bless India.
Kalidas, Hong Kong
Ref: 0811-015- Helping Indian Industrialists