Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Haridwar/Bhubaneswar, Dec 22:
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev has become a household name with the array of products Patanjali is offering. The charismatic personality has earned a name for him in the country and abroad. While the saffron clad yogi has rekindled the Swadeshi sentiment in people, he has gained an enviable position for being instrumental in taking Patanjali to newer heights. The Managing Director of Eastern Media Limited, Monica Nayyar Patnaik had a tete-a-tete with Baba Ramdev at Haridwar.
Q. How do you see demonetization?
A. Demonetization was introduced in India to bring about transparency in the economic system and realize one’s duty towards the nation. The tax payers are running the country and the politicians are creating voters. Over 80 crore people in our country exercise their franchise. But, the number of tax payers is quite less. Such a huge gap between the tax payers and voters is not good for any country. One more thing is that, there is a huge amount of undeclared wealth which is being used in illegal and anti-national activities. I believe the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will help curb these activities. People are inconvenienced due to demonetization and the effect is expected to continue for few more days past December 30 as India is a huge country. The cooperation expected from the banks post the move has not been received.
Q. What are your plans for digital and cashless payments?
A. We fully support digital and cashless payment system. We are in talks with several banks to facilitate online and digital payments for Patanjali products. Digital payment systems have been introduced at bigger outlets. We are in the process of implementing them at smaller stores. Business at retail outlets have been affected after demonetization. Patanjali outlets have not faced such situation till now as the business has not gone down. Had there been no digital payment system, we would have certainly faced such a situation. Foreign players should not be allowed in the digital payment system. It is not justified to levy 2 per cent tax on digital transactions. It should not be implemented.
Q. What are the plans of Patanjali to open mega stores?
A. We have a network of over 5000 stores across the country. We have the highest number of mega stores in the country. Still there is a need for around 2500-3000 stores. We are opening stores on franchisee basis. The multi-national companies or big retail chains in the country haven’t been able to generate the demand what Patanjali has created. If we invite for franchisees for one outlet, around 10-20 investors come forward.
Q. What are Patanjali’s business plans for 2017-18 fiscal?
A. We are emphasizing on maintaining the three digit growth for the next five years. We are committed to the growth of agri-related sectors. Around 50 food parks were approved during the UPA government. However, not a single project was successful or profit-making. We are setting up five mega food parks in the country. The construction of parks at Nagpur and Noida are in full swing, whereas it will start soon in Madhya Pradesh. While we have targeted to generate 5 lakh indirect employment opportunities in five years, we aim to provide higher price to 5 crore farmers for their produce.
Q. What are your expansion plans for Nepal, Bangladesh and ASEAN countries?
A. We have a presence in Nepal and in the process of expansion. We have received proposals from Bangladesh and Africa. Our business model is not country specific. It is based on Swadeshi model. So, it can be replicated successfully in any country. With this, business and country’s economic growth can be achieved. We are against capitalism and industrialisation. Our moto is to produce world-class products at affordable price and utilize the profit in philanthropic activities. I am the brand ambassador and Acharya Balakrishna is its honorary CEO.
Q. How yoga and ayurveda can be used to augment business process and human resource development?
A. Yoga, ayurveda and other traditional things can be used for business purposes. There is a deep rooted relation between religion, work and prosperity. Without prosperity, industry like Tourism cannot flourish. We can yield best results if the old traditions can be cast in business models.
Q. What do you have to say about Odisha?
A. People of Odisha are very simple and have enormous faith on religion. Odisha is rich in natural resources and the state is on progress path. I want Odisha to be among the prosperous states in the country. I know ‘Sambad’ since last 15 years and I can say that I have personal rapport with some people associated with it.