Rafale: 'PM, Ambani will have to go to jail'

Rafale: 'PM, Ambani will have to go to jail'

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday spent over an hour taking questions from entrepreneurs at the Manyata Tech Park in Bengaluru. The session was moderated by serial entrepreneur Ravi Gururaj. (DH File Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday spent over an hour taking questions from entrepreneurs at the Manyata Tech Park in Bengaluru. The session was moderated by serial entrepreneur Ravi Gururaj.

Aprameya Radhakrishna: Some companies I invested in have been getting tax notices on the investment, assuming that we haven’t paid tax already.

Rahul Gandhi (RG): Angel tax goes counter to the philosophy of startups. We’ll get rid of this tax when we come to power.

Kajal Upadhyay: Why is everybody going around saying Chowkidar Chor Hai?

RG: Apparently, I last heard that everybody has become a chowkidar. The UPA had negotiated for eight years the Rafale contract and decided a couple of things - Rs 526 crore for one aircraft and to be manufactured by HAL.

But Modi goes to France with Anil Ambani and the contract is changed. Rs 526 crore becomes Rs 1,600 crore for 36 aircraft instead of 126. Anil got the world’s biggest defence contract and he’s never built an aircraft in his life. Defence Ministry documents reveal that the PM carried out parallel negotiation. We’ve demanded an inquiry by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. Once those documents are part of an enquiry, the PM and Anil Ambani will have to go to jail.

Meena Ganesh: I don’t see any 360-degree method for the mental well-being and community welfare for the elderly.

RG: In our manifesto, we’re thinking about the Right to Health, which is basic minimum healthcare to the population, increasing healthcare budget, building hospitals, PHCs and give access to them.

Triptur Krishna: Government schemes haven’t reached villages and banks aren’t meeting their lending targets.

RG: Banking system has been captured and controlled by a limited number of people. Jobs will be created by the MSMEs and small businesses. The banking system needs to be opened up aggressively. You sense anger in society because India is failing on jobs. A country, the scale of India, simply needs to be producing jobs massively and we’re failing.

Madan Padaki: How do you create more entrepreneurs in the villages?

RG: There are entrepreneurs all over India. It’s not that there aren’t skills. You might need fine-tuning. We don’t give access to the skills. Have you ever heard the government ask carpenters or barbers to become trainers? In our head, skill is something centralised that is handed over to people. Bengaluru is a particular type of skill built up over a long period of time.

What we did with Bengaluru we need to do with other hubs of skill. A town in China produces 90% of locks sold in the world because they’ve connected a traditional skill with money to the rest of the world. 

Ravi Gururaj: What will you be if not in politics? 

RG: Not engineering. Not for me. I’m not good-looking. I can still be a writer. I keep writing a bit.