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Bajaj blasts Centre for letting foreign cos hold majority stake - The Economic Times

UNI ()
12 November 1996

Title : Bajaj blasts Centre for letting foreign cos hold majority stake
Author : UNI
Publication : The Economic Times
Date : November 12, 1996

Leading industrialist and a well known proponent of the
'India Club' Rahul Bajaj has launched a scathing attack
on the government for its decision to allow foreign
companies to hold majority equity in various fields.

"I can understand the United Front government desperately
needing foreign technology and capital in certain sectors
like infrastructure or research and development," he

"But to allow them unrestricted equity in most other
industries is virtually going to wipe out the domestic
industry," Mr Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto, said while
claiming the support of 70 to 80 per cent of industrial-
ists on this issue.

Mr Bajaj said that several multinationals would be inter-
ested even if there was a cap on minority holdings. There
are almost a dozen car manufacturers who would gladly
accept the 40 per cent figure.

"Why can't the government tell these foreign investors
that they can have only a minority share and not unre-
strained foreign equity?"

His outburst came close to strong undercurrents in the
industry over the issue.

Mr Bajaj said in most sectors like textiles, cement,
sugar and paper, the best of technology was available for
the asking, with only minority equity.

He dismissed criticism that Indian businessmen were
raising: alarm signals when they had to face competition.
"I don't understand, what these armchair economists and
politicians are saying," he said.

"For 45 years we businessmen asked for liberalisation but
then everybody was afraid of socialism and Mrs Indira
Gandhi.... Later our critics said that we domestic indus-
trialists made money during the reign of socialism. Are
we idiots if we are not here to make money? Why blame the
industry for socialism?"

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