THE BIGGEST acquisition ever of a foreign company by an Indian company should make all Indians feel proud, said industrialist and Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal. He was addressing a talk organised by Young Indians (YI), Indore chapter, of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) at Hotel Fortune Landmark on Friday.
Speaking about his efforts in getting Indians the right to hoist their national flag in their homes after half a century of democratic rule in their country he advised Indians to fight for their rights in order to make themselves relevant in a democracy.
He recounted how at age 20 he had felt pride at unfurling for the first time the Indian flag at University of Texas and Dallas where he was pursuing his degree in higher education in the 90’s. He said it was a rude jolt to him to learn that this was banned in India.
The flag hoisted over his company was removed on the orders of then Bilaspur Commissioner prompting him to take the government head-on in this matter.
It was found that an archaic Flag Board of India divested with only executive instructions having no sound constitutional backing prohibited the public from flying the tri-colour. A writ petition was then filed, on which the High Court ruled that individuals be allowed to hoist the flag.
The decision was challenged by the government in the Supreme Court where a stay was issued on the HC decision in February 2006. Undeterred the fight continued during which three Prime Ministers were contacted for lending support to the cause, but in vain.
In the meantime one of the judges hearing the case went to Malaysia during the months when the national week is observed there and returned a changed man on seeing the number of national symbols displayed by the public there.
On January 23, 2004, the landmark decision that changed the status quo of public and VIP was passed with the court noting it to be a part of freedom to speech and expression enshrined in the Fundamental Rights.
Prompted by this incident, Jindal joined the Lok Sabha to raise issues of the public and went about bringing changes there also. He got smoking banned in Parliament under the Smoking in Public Places Act, fought for and won acceptance of Indian currency at duty free shops in India and is still fighting for allowing wearing lapel pins bearing the Indian flag inside Parliament.
He advised the youth to do their job well and work for the prosperity of the country at individual level. The country fuelled by a knowledge economy is on the right path with a booming growth rate and youthful demography where numerous jobs are on offer. He pointed out that happiness was not in goal but in journey and to remember that things happen only when one gets after them.
Later, speaking to media persons, he expressed joy over the Tatas acquiring Corus Group and said that Corus had not only raised their stake but Tata Steel has jumped several points by rising from 25th position worldwide to fifth. As Managing Director of Jindal Steel he said that the deal was a little expensive at 12.1 billion dollars and could have been negotiated further.
However, the acquisition itself despite pressures and competitions goes on to show that Indians are second to none. He pointed out that Indian companies are now looked on and treated with respect around the globe.
He agreed that the Indian century has begun and at least in the steel sector Indians are making all the noises be it Laxmi Mittal or Ratan Tata.
Production from India will touch 200 million tonne by 2020. He said there was need for gradually reducing export of high quality iron ore, while Indian companies are left with less than requirement and that too of inferior quality. He said Jindal Steel and Power Company was expanding operations in Jharkhand, Raipur and Orissa and may decide of expansion and setup in the State.