Anil Agarwal Curated

Buisnessman and Philanthropist

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This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Anil Agarwal have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Anil Agarwal's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming entrepreneurs. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • How does the Modi report card read like?

    I think he has done two or three things which are phenomenal. What he has done in the Bankruptcy Code is phenomenal. My heart used to break down when people use to take the money from the bank – the heard-earned money of the public -- and splurge it on their houses and personal functions. After the new law, people will think 10 times. GST is a landmark move, though it requires some adjustments. Thirdly, I find states are being empowered. Oil and gas have reformed. Yes, the Modi government could have done definitely much more. They had the opportunity to open up businesses more, for instance. I am sure in the coming days they want to do it.

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  • How do you view the upcoming elections 2019?

    No matter which government comes to power, India is not going to stop. Nobody can stop India’s growth. I have experienced this first-hand. I have worked with the Narasimha Rao government, Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Rajiv Gandhi government, Narendra Modi government, and I didn’t find anybody who is less progressive.

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  • You have a foundation of giving back to society and your two children are in some way or the other involved with the company also. So how does the succession plan work?

    The children can be directors in the company but they have to prove their mettle. On succession planning, I am very clear. Only capable people, top professionals who can drive the company should run the company because they have a long route and goal. At some point of time, they (if the children) prove to be capable, and can do something, then why not?

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  • What is your ambition in life for yourself and your company?

    When I see Exxon, GE in the US and BHP in Australia, I get ideas. If I can be a catalyst to create something like this, it will be good. Professionals should run the company and make this company which can run for hundreds of years, create livelihoods and support the country. This is my ambition for the company is concerned and it will happen. We have two companies -- Vedanta and Sterlite Technologies. And, both will flourish. I am ensuring most of the wealth we generate goes back to society. We are looking at how we can help through this Nand ghar initiative. India has 130,000 Nand ghars. And we have about 8 crore children and about 5 crore women. In my lifetime, I want to ensure that no child is deprived of food or education and healthcare. When they grow up, they should remember they are products of Nand ghars. This is not difficult to achieve. I am a man of design. This requires a replicable model.

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  • You also think microfinance can be a vehicle of change...

    I think anyone with Aadhar should have the right to borrow Rs. 2 lakh. So once you give them, somebody will buy an auto, some will set up a tea stall, and so on. I am asking my CEOs to incorporate this in CSR. I get representations from NBFCs and they want to spread this micro-financing. If this is institutionalised, the pressure on us to create jobs will ease and people will be self-employed.

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  • You have very strong views on the autonomy of PSUs, and on empowering Collectors so that India can really become top 50 countries in terms of ease of doing business. Tell us more.

    There are 5 things which come to my mind. Number one is simplifying natural resources. We should explore as much as possible. It will create lots of jobs. Then on PSUs. This is the third or fourth government which has maintained that a government has no business to be in business. Then, somehow, it does not happen. They are still in business. And the backbone is the public sector. If they free them and bring autonomy as I have seen in the Hindustan Zinc, Balco, they have increased production up to 5, 6, 7 fold. So you can imagine steel being produced, copper being produced, oil being produced, coal being produced! Indian manager and Indian minds are some of the best managers. If you see them in the IT companies, they have a huge reputation. If they are given autonomy and a very strong independent Board, then 50 percent of the bureaucrats will be free. And so this company can have three times of production and tremendous valuation. The whole economy will change. We can have three time production in coal, oil and gold. Third, we have around 650 districts. Districts collectors are very well trained and they are young and powerful as well. They can be the business development managers. Like in China. So whether in sports, tourism and industries, mining anything, the buck should stop with them. This was suggestion, and I think, everybody liked it. For tourism, I said that kind of monuments, museums and beaches what we have, we should make them independent. Don’t keep them in the control of the government. If you do that, tourism will grow 100 times. Finally, I feel our youth should seriously look at liberal arts. Our children, if they want to play the flute, any kind of music, or they want to get into arts, or painting, or sports, they should be encouraged.

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  • You are keen to take the remaining govt stake in Hindustan Zinc and BALCO. What are your thoughts and what do you expect from the governments?

    This is the story which everyone should know. A government investment worth Rs 500 crores today is yielding almost Rs. 40000 crores. They are very friendly and they are very positive to disinvest the stake. They are working on it. They have not come out very clearly how to come out for the disinvestment. I believe they are very serious and this should happen this year.

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  • You plan to invest $ 8 billion in the country in the next three years. What are the details?

    A sum of $ 3.2 billion will be invested in oil & gas. We are looking to invest $ 1 billion in aluminium to make the capacity from 2 million to 3 million ton. We are looking to invest altogether in steel, iron & ore about $ 1 billion to have 50 million ton in iron ore and to have 3.5 million tonnes in steel. In zinc, I think, it will cost another $ 1 billion to take the capacity to about 2 million ton. In copper, we are expanding from 400,000 tonnes to 800,000 thousand tons. So in all, it will be around $ 8 billion worth of investment which will make our turnover top line to US $ 26 billion.

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  • Please tell us about the ambitious optical fibre-laying project of yours and where do we stand now?

    Sterlite Technologies is one of the finest technology companies in the country. There are four optical fibre producers in the world, and we are one of them. We will be making some 50 million km fibre. Our government wanted to connect the panchayats. We have taken that responsibility. We have connected about 100 thousand panchayats through the fibre so that they can connect to the mainstream. We have our own software. This plant is in Pune. And then in Aurangabad. It’s headed by MD CEO Anand Agarwal.

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  • Please tell us more about your LED and LCD business. The Nagpur facility was to become operational – What is the latest on that front?

    I am a nationalist. I always look at where are the gaps – the gaps are natural resources and electronics. If we don’t start producing electronics, we will start importing electronics worth $ 200 billion. In electronics we have decided to manufacture glass for TV, cellphone and computers. We have three plants – the R& D plant is in Japan and in the Korea facility some 600 people work. And then another in Taiwan. In Maharashtra, we have met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Nitin Gadkari is very keen. Within one year, the feasibility report would be ready. To start production here, it will take another three years from now.

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  • You think that we should be able to produce 50 per cent of our oil requirements. What is the latest on this front, and by when shall we closer to the landmark?

    Any large country should be able to produce 50 per cent of their hydrocarbon / oil requirement if they wish to eradicate poverty. This is a thumb rule. India produces only 15 per cent. India has one of the best resources of hyrdrocarbons and we have acquired Cairn and we are the only oil and gas producer in the private sector. We are currently producing around 250 thousand barrels. We are looking to expand to 450-500 thousand barrels, and for that we already have a plan and an investment is on of $ 3.2 billion. We got 41 very promising blocks Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and offshore. If we produce another 500 thousand barrels, we will be closer to the target.

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  • Moving to other issues, when and how do you plan to bring Anglo to India?

    Technologically, Anglo is one of the best companies in the world in mining and resources. They have got a huge market. They sell in India. My coming in has given them a lot of comfort. Everybody is looking at India. We are talking to them. Our being the largest shareholder will give them comfort to come to India.

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  • Now you have shown interest in steel with Electrosteel. You hope to create another Bokaro. Tell us about this project and the targets.

    It’s actually Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das – the chief minister feels that he should create another Bokaro in his lifetime. I met him for half an hour (recently). If one Bokaro comes, 23-30 lakh people will get livelihood. We are not creating just a Bokaro – we are creating the whole ecosystem. At the moment, we are going to 1.4 million ton to 2.4 million ton (capacity). We will spend about $ 300 million. The vision is that we should create a 4-5 million ton plant. In all it can be a 7-8 million ton plant. We have enough land. We are doing the study.

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  • What about the mining issue in Goa?

    Between Goa mines and Tuticorin, we have got, maybe, 5 per cent of our total business. It’s a livelihood issue for Goa. For the last 70 years, the economy of the state was dependent on this. There were no environmental issues. We are working with the people and the court. Very soon some resolution will be there. You have got strong views on mining. You think if one has to susbsidise agriculture, one should exploit minining to the fullest. Pl tell us more. ‘Explore’ is a better word. I have always believed India is not a country; it’s a continent. Even Nepal is 37 million people. You have 25 per cent of the population of the world. Agriculture is our mainstay, and we have to give subsidy to agriculture -- it’s required at least for another ten years. To subsidise this, there is mother earth – below and above. Below, you have gold, copper, oil, zinc. Geologically, India is a very rich country. I have always believed that the natural resources will eradicate the poverty of the country. The government is listening. We are the only natural resource company in the country. I think it’s a question of time. For a more sustainable life, we have to explore the wealth that we have.

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  • When do you plan to open the Tuticorin plant after the go-ahead by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal?

    Nothing can happen without copper. Copper has to be processed. In the world, about 16 (companies) make copper. We believe the way we make copper is one of the best technologies. After we set up the plant, we are catering to 50 to 60 per cent of the demand in the country. About 200 industries are dependent on us. Hundreds of thousands’ livelihoods are dependent on this. Also, the fertilizer companies are dependent on us. We have no idea how this situation happened. The plant was shut down. We have always said we are ready for any kind of inspection. The Supreme Court has directed the NGT to get into details and give them a report. NGT has come out with a report and said that the plant is to be reopened. They have made a suggestion for a further investment which was not necessary, but we have said that whatever suggestion they have made we will complete in due course. Meanwhile the court has said the plant is to be reopened. I fully believe in the Supreme Court. I believe in the system of India. The government is losing revenue to the tune of thousands of crores. Thousands have lost jobs. It’s in the interest of everyone that we reopen the plant as quickly as possible. At the same time we have to see that the people don’t take undue advantage of the democracy that India is.

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  • Are you bidding aggressively for this?

    I am never been aggressive. At the right price, the right time it comes, we will have it but I am not going to fight for sure.

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  • What are the Vedanta's plan on Essar Steel?

    Essar is one of the thing which we are looking and we have put in the best bid and we never made a noise. We put in our highest bid, we are there and the process is going on, the bank has declare ArcelorMittal as the highest bidder and the process is going on. I hope I am looking forward, this is a beautiful girl and it must go to the best house. This will serve a lot of purpose for India.

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  • What is it the merger of Hindustan Zinc and Anglo American so that the government’s stake reduces? is that something which is a thought process?

    No, nothing, at this point of time is that the government is looking at how they can divest their 26 percent share and that one thing is going on. Other thing it will keep on happening because we all are in natural resource, it is like all Ganga Jamuna, it has to be together for the benefit of the shareholders, for the benefit of the stakeholders, benefit of the respective country.

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  • Hindustan Zinc in the past has given you a lot of benefits in terms of the performance that it has put forth and right now rupee is helping it while the performance is sort of flattish. But help me understand one structure that you spoke about Vedanta is a listed entity in India, Hindustan Zinc is a separately listed entity in which the government has the golden share and you personally own 21 percent stake in Anglo American which is separately listed on London Stock Exchange, now how does th...

    There is nothing which we have talked. At the moment government definitely looking at the matter.

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  • There has been also a lot of rumour about some sort of a synergistic benefit in bringing together Vedanta as well as Anglo American in which you own 21 percent stake. Is that something that you are looking at strategically?

    We have talked to the government, we have been thinking that whether Hindustan Zinc and Anglo American can put it together, it can create a bigger platform and we all are working but everything is cooking in the cold water. You wait and see what happen, at this point in time I wishing them very well. They are increasing their profits. The management is very strong. I am going to support them. I always say Africa is the integral part of Anglo and they should make sure that they remain focused on the continent and that is what they are doing and I am very pleased with the present management. You can’t find a better management then them.

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  • Let us talk about Anglo American, now is that going to be your next vehicle of meeting your global ambitions?

    I don’t have any ambitions except I support the management. Anglo is one of the finest company, finest management. Whenever we meet I tell them that India with 1.4 billion people or 25 percent population of the world should be the foothold of Anglo because they produce copper, iron ore, coal, platinum, diamond. Gently I keep reminding them and telling them to look at India. It is one of my strategies so they should develop their business in India. Hopefully one day they will start doing that.

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  • What is the company’s derailed balanced stake buyout in Hindustan Zinc from the government?

    The government was supposed to divest and give us the remaining 26 percent share. They haven’t given. We have made a lot of money for them. I hope at some point in time they take a decision and do that.

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  • Interestingly, the confidence of foreign companies has eroded and they fear while investing in India.

    It will return back as the government has made a lot of efforts and the results will be seen at a later stage. Besides, I have three goals that include taking ahead the company, adopting at least 50 crore children of India and bring women, who were married at a young age of 13-15, back to the mainstream. My company is an institution in itself, like Exon and BHP, and will not move directly in the hands of my family members. We have started Nand Ghar project for the adoption of children and will provide essential things to them like education, food and regular health check-ups. Women will be brought back to the mainstream and start earning for their families under a project, which will be headed by Venkat, who is its CEO.

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  • You have acquired Electrosteel and showed interest in Essar Steel.

    We have bid for it and will be able to acquire it if it qualifies into it. But Anglo American is our biggest acquisition till date and we own 21% of its stake. Anglo American is the world's largest producer of diamond as it produces almost 80% diamonds of the world at present. It is also engaged in the production of platinum, iron-ore and coal, among others, and we want to take it ahead. In addition, we are trying to convince it to come to India and start its business over here. But it fears coming here.

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  • Can you suggest ways to tackle the lack of investment and jobs?

    There was a need for a correction. Implementation of goods and services tax (GST) and Insolvency Act (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) are forms of that correction. GST has put an end on leakages and Insolvency Act, which has closed the loopholes, is making people rethink before taking loans as they are aware of the actions that can be taken if they fail in depositing back the loan. I have a suggestion for the youth of the nation - You will have to take a risk in your lifetime. I would appeal to them, especially the girls, to move ahead. Interestingly, we have two-three female CEOs who are heading our projects. In addition, about 20% of our employees are female and we are planning to take it up to 30%. This can be achieved by changing the atmosphere of the nation and making sure that the females are not underestimated. They have a different aspect of thinking and they have the abilities to drive. I have a faith in the next generation and feel that they will take the country to the next level.

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  • You have submitted a proposal to the government with a suggestion that can help it in reducing imports and resolve the issues related to the fiscal deficit. How can Vedanta group participate in it?

    The government has allocated 41 oil and gas exploration blocks to our group and we will try our best to work hard to make best of this opportunity and try to help reduce the country’s import dependence for oil. We have the vision to invest in India and contribute 50% of India’s domestic crude oil production and offer it at $6, which is a big thing in itself.

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  • Will you be interested in acquiring a company like SAIL if government plans to privatise it?

    We may go for acquisition of 10 to 20% and suggest that the remaining 80% should go to the public.

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  • There has been a ban on mining in Goa and similar talks are on in other states.

    The government has a direct control over business in socialist or communist countries like China and Russia. However, the public controls the business in form of corporations in democratic countries across the world, including India. They own the shares of these companies, like ITC, L&T and HDFC, among others, with a demand to have good and reliable people on its Board and CEOs to run it. There was a time when India had a trust in public sector. We have moved on from there. The government owns nearly 250 companies still but the shares of these companies are not too attractive in terms of prices. The prices of shares of companies like SAIL can be increased by making them public and making public accountable for it. This is a kind of wealth, and we must not erode the wealth when we know that people have money and are ready to invest in it. In addition, I wish that people should have a parallel income equivalent to their monthly salary, which should be used for purposes like marriages, purchase of a house and education of their children. The parallel income should come from a legitimate path and it can be earned from stocks. I will say that the government should allow public companies to do their business. I remember that PM Modi once said that government has no business to be in business. Even former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had similar thoughts.

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  • As a youth, you had a hobby of going for films, that too to watch the first-day, first show. Do you still follow that routine? If yes, who is your favourite movie star at present?

    Yes. I am a big fan of Hindi films. When it comes to favourite movie stars than it keeps changing with time. Amitabh Bachchan has been a favourite of almost every one. Shah Rukh Khan is a good friend of mine. Deepika is also a good actor and I like the way she acts. In recent past, while seeing her latest film, I thought that the film will perform like Mughal-e-Azam. Anil Agarwal signed off by saying that he has taken a pledge in which at least 50 crore children of India up to an age of 7 years will get an access to nutritional food and basic education. He said, "I would like to donate my remaining life for that purpose."

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  • In the midst of dealing with such large businesses and a schedule that keeps you busy criss-crossing numerous places and countries, how do you take out time for two things; first is the family and the second is God? I know that there is no day on which you don't go to the temple.

    The family, a daughter, a son, a wife and a granddaughter, are directly connected to me. I enjoy living with them and the best part of our family is that our heart remains together. When it comes to God, then I would like to say that I will not do any work that goes against His will. I visit temples during my morning walks to thank him for everything.

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  • Most of the time you reside in London but it seems that your heart remains in India, especially in Bihar.

    I am a pure Bihari and would love to do something for the land. I owe to the state and will try to give something to it. During my recent meet with Nitin Gadkari, the minister of Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, I was asked to take the charge of cleaning River Ganga in Patna and I said yes to the proposal. In fact, I would love to do anything that is connected with Patna or Bihar.

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  • This question is related to your personal life. I have seen that you have decided to donate 75 per cent of your property for some good work. How did it come to you?

    See, if you feel that by catching the handle of an object you will be able to protect it, then you are wrong. In the end, you will only have the possession of the handle, but remaining part of the subject will be lost. Don't catch the handles. In fact, I want to create an institution out of my company, the Vedanta. It is not a banyan tree of my family. It is an institution of India and will be managed professionally. When it comes to my family, then I would like to say that I am responsible for them and ask them to do something new and scale it up.

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  • This question is related to your professional life. Is there something big that you are planning to do on business front?

    I want to produce 50 per cent oil of India. In addition, I also want to scale up production of certain things like Aluminum (to scale up to 30 lakh tonnes); Copper (to scale up to 10 lakh tonnes); Zinc (to scale up to 20 lakh tonnes); Silver ( 1000 tonnes) and Iron Ore (to scale up to 5 crore tonnes) among others. Along with that, at least 1000 industries to process it by the youngsters, so that they turn up themselves from job seekers to job providers.

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  • What is your opinion on One Nation, One Election, a campaign that is being talked about in India at present?

    This happens across the world. I am not an expert in this field but would like to say that implementation of the scheme will definitely be beneficial for the nation. Whatever is being said is a good thing because I believe, waste everything but don't waste time. Why waste this amount of time in elections? Allow a party to work continuously for 5 years so that it takes the country ahead.

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  • You have been in the business for past 50 years. In all these years, you would have seen many situations where the lenders feared to lend or where loan seekers face problems. But today, there is a situation where both sides are scared. One is thinking that should they approach the bank or not and the other side, the banks, feel whether they should sanction loans or not. Can you suggest a solution to this problem?

    I have never faced such a situation. I am an ordinary person, who has been laden with ample amount of money, that to in a foreign land. In recent past (on a Friday), I decided to bid for the Essar Steel but needed to have a commitment of Rs 35-40,000 crore in the bank. To try my luck, I just gave a phone call and Rs 60,000 crores was available in my account. This action doesn't allow me to believe in the talks that the banks are not working or there is a shortage of money. See, almost everyone is scared, but money is available, at least for those, who really mean business and are here for business.

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  • It seems that after the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) issue arose, the government is planning to tighten almost every rule and regulation. It is in no mood to differentiate between delays and defaults. The circulation issued in February 2018, talks of tightening regulations. What will be the impact? And how do you see it panning out?

    This is a regular activity of the government and this time it is being done to tighten the noose that was created due to NPAs. But, there will be no shortage of money for good work. He added, there is no shortage of money in the market and no good proposal will die. Even I am ready to provide equity (funds) for such proposals and I have kept Rs 5,000 crore aside for this purpose. In fact, I am in talks with the NITI Aayog and have asked it to come up with a mechanism to provide equity (funds) to school-college pass-outs, with good ideas, to establish their own business.

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