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Bhaiyon aur Behenon,

This translates to ‘Brothers & Sisters’ because our forefathers always talked of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ or world-as-a-family. As a businessman having interests in various countries of the world and also representing India’s growth story, I will touch upon matters recently made in public domain. This is mainly a message from my heart as a citizen of the world to our stakeholders, following some allegations about our businesses, prior to a more befitting response, which will come soon.

1. Of business & regulation

Let me first touch upon regulations which are different from country to country.., rules for businesses are not fixed signposts but evolve dynamically to suit changing business conditions. For example, like USA which evolved from the 19th century capitalist model where some pioneers were called ‘robber-barons’ to a robust anti- monopolist 21st Century model, which the world admires. India too, has largely overturned the State monopoly & Rent seeking models once derided as the ‘Licence-Permit-Quota’ Raj to a model more suited to equal opportunity & competition. Any critique of business in India, in my view, should take note of this.

2. Our business model

I have a direct stake in wealth creation both in India and across the world, through our businesses which largely revolves around people & free movement of goods and services. From Airports to Sea Ports, from Logistics to Roads, from Energy to Clean Fuel, all our business interests are aligned with several generations of our stake holders. The long gestation nature of our businesses has elicited confidence in our stakeholders. This has however, been conveniently missed out in these allegations.

3. Test of Objectivity

Any objective criticism of our businesses with no apparent conflict of interest is welcome. I welcome any debate which I consider necessary with the proviso that we can ensure rebuttal of incorrect assumptions and factual errors, prior to these being cited in public discourse. The nature of charges made against any business affects not only the owners but also stakeholders like investors, lenders, governments, customers, suppliers and employees. My reading is that the allegations appear to fail crucial tests of objectivity, thus affecting scores of stakeholders.

4. Business confidence test

Being public companies, we are open to scrutiny subject to laws of the land where we operate. Again, it is these institutions operating under the laws of a sovereign country which needs to take remedial measures to address issues of non compliance affecting interest of specific classes of investors or lenders. Making views on a public platform implying criminal intent affect both our own reputation along with that of the institutions and even that of the countries where we operate from.

5. Utility principle

As a businessman, I would welcome meaningful criticism concerning Cash Flows, Future Maintainable Profits, and Risk factors and so on. Our stakeholders also need comfort on all these issues, from time to time. The share valuation aspect is more a play of market forces involving matters of perception and investor confidence, which like the rest of the world, are subject to complex factors. My concern as a businessman is lack of objective criticism about performance and emphasis on issues like share pricing, which is not fully under our control, through selective interpretation of facts.

As they say in India, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ which translated is simply that ‘Truth only Prevails’. But there is also a Gujarati saying that 'Mor na Inda ne chitarva na pade', which means at one level that you don’t have to paint the eggs of a peacock, it will become beautiful any way, one day. But the street meaning is that you don't have to teach business to us, it’s in our blood. We might be bad at Math (sometimes), but we are not bad with money. I am confident that the world needs both of these in these difficult post- Covid times.



(The above is only a figment of my imagination)

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