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Vedanta's Anil Agarwal bats for privatisation

"I have acquired four government companies. All four have become three times more (in terms of) production and have shown tremendous capability," Agarwal said. Drawing attention to what a difference private ownership can make, he said that these companies are still being run by the public sector employees. "The government has no business to be in a business."

ET Bureau|
Dec 16, 2019, 01.50 PM IST
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Anil Agarwal
Sharing an anecdote, Agarwal said that when he recently travelled with Air India, he was pleased by the cleanliness and the quality of food.
Vouching for privatisation of public sector companies, Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited, said that the public companies acquired by his group have fared better under private ownership.

"I have acquired four government companies. All four have become three times more (in terms of) production and have shown tremendous capability," Agarwal said, speaking at the Times Network's India Economic Conclave on Monday.

Drawing attention to what a difference private ownership can make, he said that these companies are still being run by the public sector employees. "The government has no business to be in a business."

Agarwal's Vedanta Resources has acquired Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco), Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), and Sesa Goa, among other companies over the years.

The "Babu-raj" (bureaucrat-raj) should end, Agarwal said. The job of bureaucrats is to make policy and not execute it. "They shouldn't be deciding where a plane (Air India) goes to or how is aluminium or oil extracted," Agarwal said.

And now is the time that the government can change these policies, given its strong mandate, he said. "This government has the ability to take strong decisions. If we can’t advance now, we will never advance," said Agarwal.

Sharing an anecdote, Agarwal said that when he recently travelled with Air India, he was pleased by the cleanliness and the quality of food. An airline employee told him that since he has the (Midas') touch, he should buy Air India as that is in the best interests of the airline's employees.
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