Tata: business, the public, and conscience

In the middle of India's city of business, Bombay, stands a mansion known as Bombay House, home to the Tata organization. J. R. D. Tata, chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., sits in an office with large map of the world, and India is in the center. With 42 years' experience at the top of India's largest group of companies, he speaks on various subjects:

On profits: Some Indians have been a little too successful. In the last 50 years, many Indians went from trading to industry, and you had people with blatant profit motives. India developed 100 years later than the United States, and it has little of a social conscience. Under the socialist model, Indian business can get enormously rich in the black economy, and people can become extremely corrupt and abusive.

On foreign imports: Foreign companies should make their imports in India, not send them here.

On population: With the population rate in developing countries, it could be disaster for the world in 50 years. With villagers, we don't even talk about family planning. You earn their confidence and serve their ills. Then they ask for help in cutting down the size of their family.

On the antimonopoly act: The government had two objections: The big houses were an opportunity for milking the people, and they didn't like accumulation of large wealth under one house. They thought it was completely against the ideals of egalitarianism. You can understand their point of view. The antibusiness point of view really began after (the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal) Nehru ( 1964). But it started in Nehru's emphasis on the public sector. The bureaucrats become managers with powers of employment in large public companies. They were all in favor of restricting private enterprise.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.