Backing India to emerge glorious in the war against COVID-19 and walk down the path of prosperity, the country’s renowned business magnate Rakesh Jhunjhunwala exuded confidence in India’s growth and economic boom in an exclusive chat with Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. Amidst the gloom of the COVID-19 crisis and failing health infrastructure, Jhunjhunwala remains optimistic and sees glimmers of economic boom and India’s breakthrough into the world of superpowers by the end of 2025. The investor and trader, popularly known as the ‘King of Bull Market’ in India, also shed light on India’s comparison with neighbouring China, the contentious agricultural reforms, his life’s biggest risk and concluded the interview by making three big predictions about India’s economic and social society.
Beginning with the prevalent situation of India’s COVID crisis, Jhunjunwala termed it as a ‘war’, as he confidently asserted that India would emerge glorious against the virus. Claiming that the virus will not effect any ‘permanent injury’ to the Indian economy, Jhunjhunwala said, “This is the flu and it’s not cancer. The Spanish Flu was followed by the roaring 20s in America. I don’t think this flu can damage us in the short run. It has, but I don’t think it can damage India as a country in the long run. If anything, it can only make us stronger. Let us not prophecize doom. I have no doubt that it is not going to inflict any permanent injury to the Indian economy. It will set us on the path of prosperity.”
‘India has the best demographic cycle’
Shedding light on India’s story of growth and prosperity, Jhunjhunwala shed light on the factors that make the country unique and likely to grow at a steady rate. Pointing out India’s demographic cycle, he said, “It is skills, democracy, and demography that creates a prosperous society. India has all of this. We are amongst the most skilled people in the world, we made the atom bomb, sent a vessel to mars, made the largest computer in the world.. There is no doubt that India is a nation of skilled people. Every society goes through a demographic cycle. India in the next 25 years has the best demographic cycle in the major societies of the world. Don’t forget that America’s latest prosperity came through the baby-boomer years. Baby-boomer years is nothing but the favourable part of America’s demographic cycle.”
‘People are underestimating India’s potential’
Shunning the opinions claiming a downfall of the Indian economy, Jhunjunwala labelled it as ‘coloured opinions’ and roared back with a stronger argument. Significantly, the business magnate asserted that the priority is to defeat the COVID crisis and that the ‘obituaries and analysis’ can be done after winning the war.
“If I was to worry about everybody’s opinion, I wouldn’t have been in the stock market, especially if I listened to economists in my life. These opinions are being coloured by the fact that these elitists don’t like the social agenda of the government. Therefore, they are carrying their opposition to the social agenda into economic thinking,” Jhunjhunwala said, before adding, “COVID has not affected only India, it has affected the entire world and we have been hit but we recovered pretty fast and beyond everybody’s expectations. The doomsayers have been proved wrong earlier following the first wave and they will be proved wrong following the second wave. Most people are underestimating India’s ability and potential to grow.”
‘India will overtake China’s GDP’
Comparing India’s growth with a much-bigger economy of China, Jhunjhunwala made a bold prediction claiming that India will become a superpower in the next one and half to two decades. Reasoning on why China’s growth rate might decline as compared to India’s rampant rise, Jhunjunwala pointed out the difference in the systems of governance.
“Our growth is complimentary. It’s not that India and China cannot grow together. There is a dictatorship there which can enforce and impose things which will give a short term gain but in the long term, it is going to be painful because we don’t know what kind of social unrest there could be in China. India is on the threshold of the next stage of growth. I see double-digit growth this year and that going up with every 1% until we reach 10-11%. That is my opinion. China will not be able to grow at this level. India will also reach one day where China is,” Jhunjunwala told Arnab on the Nation Wants To Know programme aired on Saturday.
The ‘king of the bull market’ also proclaimed that he sees no reason why India might not overtake or even reach China’s per capita GDP. “When the forces of growth will unleash themselves, we are underestimating the extent to which they will go. I have learnt in the stock market that the highs are always higher than you dreamt. The lows are always lower than you fear. My perception is the forces of growth when reform takes place, We could grow by more than 10% just like China. I see no reason why we will not reach or overtake China’s per capita GDP,” he said.
Gandhi family needs to leave: Jhunjunwala
On India’s current political situation, Rakesh Jhunjunwala remarked that there is a need for an ‘effective opposition’. However, he also pointed out in the same breath, that in order for India to get an effective opposition, the Gandhis will have to leave control of the Congress party. “We need an effective opposition in this country and that is only going to happen when the control of the Congress party is not going to remain with the Gandhi family. That’s my thinking. Which is still 5-7 years away,” he said.
Jhunjunwala threw weight behind the contentious farm laws introduced by the Union Government last year which eventually led to countrywide protests. Presenting his viewpoint on the same, he said that the farmers had lost the battle and that the agitators should have accepted the government’s proposal to keep the three laws on hold for 18 months and have elaborate discussions.
Jhunjunwala’s biggest risk & 3 predictions for India
Revealing his life’s biggest risk, Jhunjunwala turned the clock back to 1989 during the Union Budget session. “The biggest bet I took was in the 1989 budget, I had risked 2 crores that is equivalent to a risk of 5000 crores today. I have never taken a risk in my life other than that where I could have substantially suffered a mighty financial loss,” he recalled.
Concluding the interview, Rakesh Jhunwala made three big predictions for India in the upcoming decade in which he projected India to become the world’s pharma and entertainment centre. Here are Rakesh Jhunjunwala’s three big predictions for India:
- Post-2025 India will grow double digits at least for 2 decades
- We will have a more cohesive society
- India could be the pharma and entertainment centre of the world after software. Entertainment will be a very big industry.