Companies

Baba Ramdev: the monk who can own a fleet of Ferraris, but won’t

Siddharth Zarabi  | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on October 09, 2015

Baba Ramdev, Founder, Patanjali Ayurveda

Yoga exponent and head of a multi-crore business talks on how India can get shining














Yoga guru Baba Ramdev shot to fame with his Patanjali brand of food products which gave MNC brands a run for their money. In a recent report, CLSA said that if Patanjali gets listed, it will command considerable value, given the competitive pricing of its products and the growth in sales. In an interview to of Bloomberg TV India, Ramdev said Patanjali is set to more than double the top-line to ₹5,000 crore this fiscal. However, he urged investors to wait for a while as the company is yet to firm up plans for an IPO. Delving deep into contentious issues like tax reforms, governance and corruption, Ramdev said India needs a single-tax GST at the earliest, single-window clearances and transparency in the working of the government to improve the ease of doing business in India.  



You have been against fast food given the health risks. Yet you plan to come up with a noodle brand. Why?

 We have come up with many products like choco-flakes, cornflakes, muesli and oats. Undoubtedly these are healthy, and at the same time, instant foods.



So, no preservatives? 

 No, not at all.



Then how do these packaged products retain freshness for three to six months?

 These are not wet products. They do not get affected by humidity. So, products which are dry, can be preserved. 



Like how in Kashmir, vegetables are dried in summer and eaten in winter.

 Some products which have little preservatives, gets washed away by our body. Like juices, which have a little amount of preservatives, but is not harmful. Our noodles do not have even 1 per cent of preservatives in them. They are also dry. Patanjali noodles will hit markets in a week and will create a sensation like no other. Nestle’s Maggi Atta (wheat) noodles was sold for ₹25 for a pack of 70-80 grams.  Ours will cost just ₹15. One, it is about price. Second, they (Nestle) had made it on palm oil, which costs just ₹ 40-50 per litre. We are using rice bran oil which is good for heart, brain, body and overall health. It costs ₹ 100 per litre. So our cost is twice as much. In fact, it is more than double because the oil ingredient in noodles is 25 per cent. So someone who consumes rice ban oil will stay healthy, and someone who consumes palm oil will be unhealthy. In its tastemaker, the competitor had MSG and lead, which were taste enhancers that causes addiction. We have not used any such enhancer. We have used pudina, javitri, clove, tulsi etc which are good for health. So our tastemaker is a health-maker. Also, it’s is not made of flour (maida), but of atta.



The PM is now emphasising on ‘Make in India.’  You are both a believer and practitioner of Swadeshi. What’s your opinion about it?

 The 200-year-long Swadeshi movement had long died. Mahatma Gandhi’s Khadi movement had faded and the Khadi industry was running on subsidies. We have raised the Swadeshi movement from the ground to the sky. Big companies in their boardrooms are now discussing Patanjali and are chalking out strategies on how to compete with us. But we don’t have any competition. This year, Patanjali achieved a target of ₹ 2,000 crore but it is going to cross ₹ 5,000 crore in this financial year itself. But, I must say Swadeshi is a big pledge.



Reports suggest Patanjali’s success in just 8 to 9 years is a valued-based achievement and not just a profit-based one.  Will the public get a chance to invest in your success?

 All I can say is wait and watch. We have not yet principally decided anything on going into the market.



From a policy perspective, do you believe this government is promoting Swadeshi?  

 I expect only one thing from the government – that it does not create any hindrances. The present regime is cooperative. People say in Modi’s regime, Baba’s yoga is increasing, Baba’s industry is increasing, Baba’s eminence is increasing. Does Modiji endorse our Chyawanprash? Today, if people are consuming Patanjali Chyawanprash, they are doing so on the basis of trust. Now, Patanjali is country’s biggest ghee brand.



And you are its brand ambassador.

We have done all this work, we fought day in and day out. And now, we only say that we are offering pure products: world-class, low priced and 100 per cent of the profits go to charity.

Man works for two things in this world: money and prestige. We don’t want money and by putting our prestige at stake, we uprooted big-big frauds. By putting money and prestige in line, we continued to work for a system that instils courage in people. People say they will go to the US to make a future. America itself is a poor country. Tell me, how will they make your career? But there is a misconception among people. I am calling it a poor country because America is world’s most debt ridden country. If its GDP is ₹700 lakh crore, then it has a debt of about ₹1,500 lakh crore.



And, maximum chunk of its debt is with China.

 ...And India has so many opportunities. We can become world’s largest manufacturing hub, the world’s largest service providers, the world’s biggest education hub, the world’s largest health hub and its tourism hub. We have prosperity in all fields, and yet there’s so much emptiness. People should have the courage and take steps forward. I am doing all this as I don’t have any other work, than work itself. If a man doesn’t work, then what will he do?



With regard to the ease of doing business. Many believe there are stringent rules and regulations in India for doing business. The general public has to struggle a lot as big companies, can influence or manipulate. Is there a a solution in the offing?

 The industrial environment of our country is not a business friendly environment because of the taxation terrorism. I told Arun Jaitley, before any other Bills, first bring the Bill for single taxation, GST. I am in favour of single taxation and even Jaitley is convinced with it. GST has to be implemented fast. I said remove all remaining taxation and bring one tax system. In India doing business means taking scourge.  I am talking about setting up big factories, leave aside small factories. If someone sets up a factory, he or she will have to take 40-60 NOCs from the government and corruption is so widespread. 



Does Patanjali have to go through such demands?

 Yes we had to go through all that. That is why we are saying, except India’s two business friendly states, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and somewhat Madhya Pradesh, everywhere people demand money with both their hands. They say earn later, first fill our pockets. They are so corrupt that even before letting a company earn, they want their cut.

 



Is corruption on the decline?       

It is not decreasing at all. There is no single window system where you can go for all the NOCs. Modiji as the Chief Minister of Gujarat brought industrial revolution in that state, big industries were setup, and millions were invested. Another Chief Minister who is very creative and active and someone who can work on a single window system is Chandra Babu Naidu.

Shivraj Singh is also simple and sober. There are many other Chief Ministers too. Labour laws should also be changed. There has to be prosperity in labourers’ lives. To make an industrial-friendly environment, we have to change our laws as per the modern environment.



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Published on October 09, 2015
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