In a candid interview with senior journalist Prabhu Chawla, Indian business magnate Rakesh Jhunjhunwala disapproved of the media’s sentimental evaluation and asserted a positive outlook for India’s economy.
Chawla spoke to Jhunjhunwala on a wide range of issues including investment, growth rate, GDP insisting that India is currently facing a grave economic crisis. However, investor Jhunjhunwala shot down all his worries and predicted a 10% growth for the current financial year.
Market to get better from July
Considering the repercussions of the pandemic to be temporary, Jhunjhunwala said that the market situation will witness an improvement from July that is with the receding of the second wave of the pandemic.
Chawla, however, throughout the interaction insinuated that the economic management continues to remain poor with unemployment on a rise, decline in demand and loss of purchasing power.
In what seemed like an attempt to dissuade any positive sentiments, Chawla in a perplexed tone remarked that when people are fighting a pandemic, losing their loved ones, no money in their pockets and bodies floating in the river, how is the stock market doing well?
To this Jhunjhunwala replied that markets work on reality and not on sentiments. Visibly upset by the fear psychosis created by the media, Jhunjhunwala reiterated the GST collections which stood at Rs 1.41 lakh crore in April and visible rise in income of all the big companies of the country has increased in the last 3-4 quarters.
Chawla insinuates market manipulation
Chawla in an attempt to understand the positive sentiments shown by the investors made an allegation that there might be an invisible hand to keep the market floating. He also asked how the market and companies are performing well despite job loss. To this Jhunjhunwala disregarded his suspicion calling it bogus and said that investments are made on future growth predictions which seem promising.
Confident of positive economic growth
Assuring that the economy of the country is far from sinking, Jhunjhunwala giving a score of 9 out of 10 for the Centre’s economic management, also lauded the government’s efforts of introducing major reforms in the agricultural, mining, labor and power sectors, the effect of which will be seen later.
In a sharp rebuttal to Chawla’s claim of people not having money in their pockets, Jhunjhunwala was quick to remind him of the digitization which has made it possible for even the poorest to have a bank account and transfer money within 30 minutes as opposed to hefty money transfer chargers made 20 years ago to transfer money which took 7 days to reach the recipient.
Adamant on his predictions, Jhunjhunwala said the GDP growth is in the right direction. He also expressed that the Modi government which still seems to be socialist should act as a capitalist. The veteran investor believes that the only way to get rid of poverty is growth which will, in turn, allow wealth creation.
Media and fear psychosis
Ending the interaction on a sarcastic note, Jhunjhunwala said that the media has found just another “opportunity” amidst the pandemic to hit at the government despite them doing a good job. He also urged the media, especially India Today to run one story guiding people on how to fight the pandemic rather than portraying the pandemic as an ‘all has been lost’ situation.