Targeting the 153-year-old Tata group, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the business practices of Indian industry went against national interests.
According to a report by the Hindu, while calling out Tata Sons’ president for infrastructure, defence and aerospace, Banmali Agrawala, Goyal expressed deep anguish that Tata Sons had opposed rules to help consumers framed by his Ministry. “Me, Myself, My company — We all need to go beyond this approach,” said Mr. Goyal, who also holds charge of the Ministries of Textiles and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Post the release of a 19 minute video consisting of the minister’s remarks at the annual meet of the Confederation of Indian Industry, the CII was asked to pull down the video from its YouTube channel. However later, an edited version was uploaded on Thursday night but this was also blocked by Friday evening.
These statements by Goyal, came reportedly in response to a few CII members urging for support towards smaller firms that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
As per the same report, he also expressed disappointment that the Indian industry wasn’t giving early-stage funding for startups despite him having “talked to Uday (Kotak), Pawan (Goenka), Tatas, Ambanis, Bajajs, and the Birlas” to pitch in. “Even if a few don’t make money, you can sacrifice this much for the country,” he noted.
Now, while their funding activity has been relatively low, a lot of the big industry leaders recently have been active in mergers and acquisitions in the past few months. For instance, Tata’s super app ambitions rest heavily on acquisitions of startups that have tremendous brand awareness among consumers as well as significant market share. As such, it would need plenty of cash in the bank to fund M&As such as its $1 Bn acquisition of BigBasket as well as the majority acquisition of 1MG.
Another industry giant Reliance acquired Netmeds and Urban Ladder last year. It also acquired a controlling stake in Just Dial, a 25-year-old Internet search and discovery platform for INR 3,497 Cr. Additionally, RIL subsidiary, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited (RSBVL), invested INR 20 Cr in electronics manufacturer Neolync Solutions Private Limited (Neolync).