Goyal says industry practices against national interests, singles out Tatas
Addressing industry leaders on the second day of CII's annual meeting on Thursday, minister launches into a 19-minute tirade
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured industry of complete government support, the man he has entrusted with the commerce and industry portfolio, Piyush Goyal, launched a diatribe against Indian business houses – specifically the Tata group, according to a report in The Hindu.
Addressing industry leaders on the second day of Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) annual meeting on Thursday, the minister launched into a 19-minute tirade, accusing them of following business practices that went against national interests, the newspaper said.
In comments that Goyal said came straight from his heart, the minister repeatedly singled out the 153-year-old Tata group, the report said.
The Hindu said the CII was later asked to pull down the video from its YouTube channel. An edited version was uploaded on Thursday night but this was also blocked by Friday evening, it said.
Calling out Tata Sons’ president for infrastructure, defence and aerospace, Banmali Agrawala, Goyal said the conglomerate had opposed rules framed by his ministry to help consumers. “Me, myself, my company — we all need to go beyond this approach,” said Goyal.
“Kya aapke jaisi company, ek do aapne shaayad koi videshi company kharid li… Uska importance zyaada ho gaya, desh hith kam ho gaya? (A company like yours, maybe you bought one or two foreign companies, now their importance is greater than national interest?)” Goyal said, adding that he had conveyed the same message to “Chandra” (Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekharan).
Questioning India Inc’s commitment towards India, Goyal challenged Tata Steel to demonstrate that it could sell its products in Japan and Korea. Companies in those countries were “nationalistic” and wouldn’t buy imported steel, he said.
“Hum nationalistic spirit ki baat karte hain, to kai log humein media mein dakiyanoosi bolte hain, backward bulaate hain. Japan, Korea mein koi backward nahi bulaata (When we talk of nationalistic spirit, the media call us antediluvian and backward. Nobody in Japan, Korea calls this backward),” he said.
According to The Hindu, these comments came in response to suggestions from a few CII members, including Agrawala, who had broached the need for a greater emphasis on skilling the youth, and DCM Shriram Chairman Ajay Shriram’s request to help smaller firms that have been hit harder by COVID-19.
Opposition leaders criticised Goyal’s comments.
“By making this statement, Piyush Goyal has mocked PM’s slogan ‘Ease of doing business in India’,” Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill tweeted.
By making this statement, Piyush Goyal has mocked PM’s slogan “Ease of doing business in India” – BJP Ministers confusing “Govt andhbhakti” with “deshbhakti” while pretending to be franchise holders of Nationalism!! https://t.co/d8LC8D2hc9
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) August 14, 2021
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra said the “pressure of underperforming” must be getting to the minister.
Union Minister’s unhinged rant at CII meeting.
Pressure of working in an underperforming one man show must really be getting to them ! https://t.co/jj4Wzptz6V
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) August 14, 2021
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said Goyal’s remarks were “shameful”. “CII [Confederation of India Industry] should demand an apology instead of helping him by pulling down the video,” she said. “Stand up to bullying.”