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“MNCs don’t have a Baba Ramdev”

| Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 07, 2015

“I am the most social sanyasi,” declares Baba Ramdev as he poses for selfies with visitors at Patanjali Yogpeeth. “Between me and Acharya Balkrishna, we have the most followers on social media,” says the 49-year-old Ramdev. Without demur he leaps on the boardroom table and demonstrates yogic poses for us. And candidly answers all questions. Excerpts from an interview:

You have been riding on a swadeshi plank. But you seem to be unconsciously affecting Indian firms more than the MNCs with your discounted products?

We have no competition with Indian firms. And we don’t target them. But let me ask you how much charity have companies like ITC and Dabur done? We have promised to set up 500 Acharya Kulams all over the country. 

Swadeshi means collective prosperity, which also means keeping costs low for masses. It’s not right that other Indian companies charge so much. If you look at our products versus Dabur’s, we sell so much cheaper. We sell our honey at ₹70, whereas Dabur sells it for ₹120.

How do you manage to price your products so much cheaper?

There are four reasons why our products are cheaper than competition. First, our top management takes no salary.  And they have no big expenses. Look at the big companies, how much their top management spends. They have packages of ₹5 crore or more.

Second, our purchasing is very efficient. There are no leakages and no commissions unlike the others. Swami Muktananda and Bharat ji (Baba Ramdev’s brother) oversee our purchasing.

I would imagine that we are saving 5 per cent of what other firms spend in purchasing raw material.

Third, we have kept advertisements on the low side always. The MNCs spend so much on marketing and advertising. Fourth, we keep our profit margins low.

 You say your advertisement budget is low. But your waiting room is full of channels and newspapers waiting for ads from you.

Now the situation has changed. We have to advertise to grow. But despite advertising, our products are still low-priced. Our toothpaste is still at ₹40.

But aren’t you triggering off a price war?

That’s a good thing, isn’t it? If they discount, this will also be my public seva!

Why would people want to buy your products, and not an established MNC’s product?

We are not a nameless or faceless company. Over 100 crore Indians know me by name or face. We have won people’s trust by doing seva for 20 years.

We have won this trust because of our charity. We don’t need to take on or compete against MNCs. They need to compete against us, because MNCs don’t have a Baba Ramdev or a charity mindset.   

But there are many enforcement and other cases against you – how do you say you have people’s trust?

The negative publicity will also eventually help us.  People have seen through the game of those doing this negative publicity; and have aligned themselves with us.  

Published on December 07, 2015
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