Deepak Parekh sounds bugle, says doing business far from easy for India Inc

By: and |
New Delhi/ Mumbai | Updated: Feb 19, 2015 10:59 AM

Deepak Parekh’s interview to news agency PTI that India Inc’s patience was wearing thin with little improvement...

deepak parekh, deepak parekh hdfc, deepak parekh interview, hdfc deepak parekhHDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh at an interview with PTI in Mumbai. (PTI)

Leading industrialist Deepak Parekh’s interview to news agency PTI that India Inc’s patience was wearing thin with little improvement on ease of doing business has prompted big players in the manufacturing sector to admit the impact was still not visible on the ground.

While some blamed the bureaucracy, some others said, businesses are driven by quarterly results and they would give Narendra Modi one full year in office. RC Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki, admitted there was a degree of impatience everywhere, but blamed the bureaucracy for poor implementation.

“People need to realise that in India we have a big issue of implementing things correctly and on schedule. Political leaders can give directions but implementation is done at different levels of bureaucracy and it will take time to change the way the bureaucracy works. You can’t change people’s decade long habits in a few months,” Bhargava said.

Harsh Mariwala of Marico Industries said, “I agree with him (Parekh)… but hope and believe that the Budget will address some of the critical issues.” Sunil Munjal, joint managing director, Hero MotoCorp, a leading two-wheeler manufacturer, said the industry was “reasonably” convinced the government had a fix on what needs to be done and has also clearly shown the intent. “However, it is also clear that not much has been done and work has to be done,” he said. Venu Srinivasan of TVS Motor said Modi, without a Rajya Sabha majority, was treading cautiously. “Moreover, undoing 10 years of benign neglect in nine months is difficult. I will give this government one full year before forming an opinion,” Srinivasan said. Businessmen, he added, were driven by quarterly results, whereas Modi is driven by annual results.

The CEO of one of the largest FMCG multinational, however, said, there was no real change in terms of investment flowing in. “While there have been speeches and diplomacy, where is the real change in terms of investment. The industry is still awaiting the journey to promises to begin,” he said. RPG Group chief Harsh Goenka said one can’t expect a miracle. “I do see a lot of reforms taking place. Coal and spectrum auction and environment clearances for infrastructure projects are happening. Tax issues like Vodafone have been resolved. There are no government steps that I can find fault with, but the pace could have been faster,” Goenka said.

Another leading industrialist, who also did not wish to be named, defended the government citing constraints staring the BJP in the Rajya Sabha. “You cannot call a joint session for every ordinance promulgated. Besides, the President may not like it.”

Videocon’s Venugopal Dhoot, however, observed, the economy was moving in the right direction. “A lot of reforms are happening on the business front and I expect 8 per cent plus growth in the next fiscal,” he said.

Pitching for relaxing administrative controls in the interview, Parekh said, “I think there is still a lot of optimism among the people of the country and among the industrialists and entrepreneurs that the Modi government will be good for business, for progress, for reducing corruption. They think this government means business on all these fronts.”

“However, after nine months, there is a little bit of impatience creeping in as to why no changes are happening and why this is taking so long having effect on the ground. The optimism is there but it is not translating into revenues. Any industry you see, when there is a lot of optimism, the growth should be faster,” Parekh said adding that “The thing is that our Prime Minister had a lucky period in these nine months. The world commodity prices are at all-time low which help India the most,” Parekh said.

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