Ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala in a freewheeling interview with Shekhar Gupta pulled no punches in answering the questions ranging from the current boom in the capital markets, the forced religious conversion by Islam and Christianity, expectations from the upcoming budget and his continued optimism in the Indian economy.
Jhunjhunwala, in his characteristic unapologetic manner, stated that he is a liberal at heart and has no opinion on other people’s religion or thought unless it infringes upon other people’s lives. He said that he has a problem with religious conversions by Islam and Christianity and when they term the majority as cowards.
“I am a Liberal, But I have a problem if Islam and christianity want to convert Hindus”: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Warren Buffett of India pic.twitter.com/hCxivd1X8k— Chota Don (@choga_don) January 21, 2021
“I don’t have an opinion on other people’s religion, or their thoughts unless they infringe upon other people’s lives or Freedom of Thought…I have a problem if Islam and Catholicism preaches conversion,” Jhunjhunwala said.
He further elaborated, “Whether one is a bhakt of Krishna or a bhakt of Allah, I don’t mind at all. The problem is when you start forcing others to become a bhakt of Allah and leave Krishna, I object to that. I don’t want you to become a bhakt of Krishna and I don’t want you to make me or others bhakt of Allah. I don’t have thoughts or problems with what your culture is, but if you say we are kayars(cowards), I won’t accept it.”
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s comments comes at a time when the ‘liberals’ of the country have been going hammer and tongs against several states passing laws against Grooming Jihad and forced conversion. The ‘liberals’ have gone far enough to even justify pedophilia in their quest to justify Muslim men abducting and forcefully converting Hindu women to Islam.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala roasts Raghu Ram Rajan for criticising the Farm Bills after having supported them
At a time when so-called farmers and Khalistanis are threatening to unleash violence in the country demanding the repeal of laws that would actually increase the income of farmers and cut the power wielded by middlemen, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala minced no words in criticising the former RBI governor Raghu Ram Rajan in his interview with Shekhar Gupta. Speaking on the continuing farmer agitation, the ace investor stated that the ongoing demonstration is an example that changes in India are hard to bring about.
Jhunjhunwala claimed that the renowned agriculture economist Ashok Gulati and Raghu Ram Rajan had advocated the same farm laws in the past, which they are now criticising. “Does Raghu Ram Rajan has one good word for what India has done in the last 5 years? I want to take him up. He keeps criticising the government,” Jhunjhunwala said.
The greatest bull run in India is ahead of us, not behind us: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Speaking on the current stock market rally, Jhunjhunwala stated that the greatest bull market India would witness is ahead of us and not behind, adding it is time to invest in the markets and not withdraw from them.
The BSE, for the first time in the history, touched the 50,000 mark on Thursday. The big bull of the Indian stock markets advised investors to carry out their own due diligence before investing in the market, instead of relying on borrowed knowledge from others.
Jhunjhunwala also spoke on the market anomaly when asked why the markets are hitting an all-time high even as the economy is contracting.
“If the market was to act exactly as per economic indicators, economists would have been the richest. And if I had listened to the economists, I would’ve been a poor man today,” he said.
The ace investor predicted that within 25 years, India would surpass China in terms of growth and economy. He said several advantageous factors would pull India ahead in the race and at the same time some factors going against China will pull them back.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala expects no taxes in the upcoming fiscal budget
With respect to the upcoming fiscal budget, Jhunjhunwala advised the government to be bold and not impose taxes until the growth returns. He said, “In the budget, I expect that there will be no taxes, a substantial increase in expenditure and a 6.5 to 7 per cent fiscal deficit.”
The budget 2021-2022 would be the first budget since the coronavirus pandemic induced lockdown cratered the economy, forcing it to shrink instead of expansion. It will need substantial filip through the budget to revive the economy and increase public consumption demand.
Jhunjhunwala says he expects the economy to contact by 7 per cent in the current fiscal year and recover to grow at 10 per cent in 2021-22 and then gradually rising to hit the double digit growth mark.
“I think we’ll grow -7 per cent this year… next year we’ll grow at 10 per cent and within three-four years, I see double digit growth for India,” he said.
Bankruptcy law, low inflation and fiscal deficit among good policy moves by the current government: Shekhar Gupta
Towards the end of the interview, Jhunjhunwala threw a curveball at the host Shekhar Gupta when he asked him to answer his views on the country’s economic prospects and the current government’s contribution to the economy.
Gupta applauded government for bringing in 4-5 reforms such as Bankruptcy laws, the push to privatise a few PSUs, e-assessment of the Income Tax returns, controlling the fiscal deficit and inflation among other things. Gupta also added that the government’s decision to continue raising excise on fuel was a good idea.
However, he added that sudden shocks such as the demonetisation move was a wrong move and stated that the recent focus on protectionism in form of self-reliance or aatmanirbhar would give impetus for people to become non-competitive.
Interestingly, almost every issue that the ‘liberal’ intelligentsia has been harping about, from the anti-conversion law, to the downswing in the economy due to the pandemic, to target the Modi government, was aptly decimated by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. That it was on Shekhar Gupta’s The Print which is a part of the ‘liberal’ bandwagon, perhaps hurt the cabal just a little more.