Tata hits at inconsistencies, bias in govt policies

Tata hits at inconsistencies, bias in govt policies

At the same time, he said that the Tata group had been disadvantaged repeatedly because of conditions becoming a little vague, implemented funnily and eligibility of capability being abused at the time of awarding major contracts.

Asked if he was seeing increasing unpredictability in the government policy from the point of investors, Tata said in an interview to NDTV: "Yes I think so, I've always felt and said this openly that behind it is not government policy, what's behind it is the vested interests."

On the usage of natural resources, including exports, he said: "In fact we are going counter many years (of former Prime Ministers) Mr Nehru's and Mrs Gandhi's national criterion of being self-sufficient, where we have the capability to be self-sufficient, where today we can equal the best manufacturing facility anywhere in the world."

Stating that he had told the policymakers that national resources should be one of their key issues, Tata said that one of the major problems relate to such subjects being vested with both Centre and states and "between them, sometimes nothing happens."

He also debunked reports that the group had paid a sizeable amount of money to former chief minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda for acquisition of mining concessions.

"It is absolutely untrue.  As the Chairman of Tata steel, I can say, we have not done any such thing - directly or indirectly... Actually we have got no leases in his (Koda's) time which should in itself be an indication of the veracity, or the lack of veracity, of the stories being circulated."

Admitting that he had heard about such charges, Tata said that Tata Steel had even been called and asked those questions by the enforcement agencies and gave the same response.

He replied in the affirmative on if he ever regretted being in telecom business and said: "Yes, because of inconsistencies in the policy... because of the bias that exists... yes, sometimes I do, but it is a great area."

To a different query, he said that telecom was an example where the government policy was not implemented in the manner and spirit it was intended, adding "It has been modified several times to suit individuals. Initially, it may have been public sector incumbencies. Then, it was one segment or the other...

"Usually behind any change, behind any deviation, it is a vested interest." He, however, said that nobody had asked for money from the group in the telecom sector.

Tata expressed dismay that contrary to greater adherence to policies earlier, today the interpretation of the policy had become very vague.

"So, eventually you find that you are arguing on something that the other side interprets in a manner that is so bully and vague that you come away of that meeting thinking that I am never going to be able to do so," he said.

To buttress his argument, Tata cited the aborted attempts of the group to enter the aviation sector on account of the changes from the time when the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had signed an accord in Singapore to form a joint-venture airline to the time of H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

Listing out the changes in the policies in this respect, many of which he felt were brought about by vested interests, Tata said that when the group met every requirement, then the last change was not allowing any foreign airline.

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