The Financial Times last month called Gautam Adani as ‘Modi’s Rockefeller’ and referred to his meteoric rise during the Modi regime.
And in an open letter to Mukesh Ambani that went viral, senior journalist Binu S Thomas pointed out the monopolistic tendencies of Reliance Industry and explained why he would be logging out of Reliance products and services. The letter was published on moneylife. In.
Thomas wrote that while Reliance undoubtedly employed a large number of people, generated wealth and revenue for the government, this was not enough. “Large businesses, such as Reliance, have a special duty to ensure their market practices are fair and promote longterm consumer and, more importantly, national well-being,” he concluded and pointed to the company’s less than ethical practices.
“I will no longer be buying an electrical appliance from Reliance Digital, or grocery items from Reliance Retail or Jiomart or fuelling up at a Reliance Petroleum outlet.
I will try my damn best to avoid tuning into any of 71 television channels Reliance controls through Network 18 and accounting, as you claimed in your 2019 Reliance AGM statement, for 800 million viewers or some 95% of the television viewing audience in the country.
My Jio Wi-Fi connection, which expires next month, will not be renewed. You see I am simply logging out of all Reliance businesses…”
Referring to the farm Acts, Thomas said, “… Not a bad idea, theoretically speaking, for farmers except that, in practice mega players like Reliance will effectively set the price they get and, over time, narrow their options for getting better prices elsewhere…
Two other bills, one dealing with promotion of contract farming and another removing stocking limits on many essential items of daily use like cereals, pulses, oils and onions, will also benefit large players like Reliance more than anyone else.”
“But I do hope and pray that you will, as a smart business tycoon, realise perhaps in your quietest moments that the long-term interests of your businesses are tied not just to how big and powerful they become .,
But the price the people of this still largely poor and developing country have to pay for your vaulting business ambitions,” he wrote in conclusion.
The Financial Times in its report also pointed out the favourable policy changes that helped the Adani Group to grow phenomenally in a short time.
“When the Indian government approved the privatisation of six airports in 2018, it relaxed the rules to widen the pool of competition, allowing companies without any experience in the sector to bid.
There was one clear winner from the rule change: Gautam Adani, the billionaire industrialist with no history of running airports, scooped up all six,” the report said.
While the deal triggered outrage of crony capitalism and Kerala’s finance minister objected to the 50-year lease of Trivandrum International Airport to the Adani Group,
But the civil aviation minister brushed it aside and said that the bidding was transparent. “Overnight Mr Adani became one of the country’s biggest private airport operators,” the FT report pointed out.