ITC Ltd chairman Y C Deveshwar believes rich Indian entrepreneurs investing in real estate in US are showing investment opportunities in India in poor light. This could be music to ears for S D Shibulal, who till recently was heading country's leading home grown IT company Infosys.
"I was recently saddened by media reports that high net-worth Indian nationals in a position of leadership have invested significantly large capital in real estate assets overseas. This is symptomatic of the fact that even Indian capital has to seek lucrative opportunities abroad given the difficulty of investing profitably in the domestic economy, quite apart from perhaps a serious deficit in patriotic fervour," Deveshwar told shareholders at the annual general meeting of ITC.
According to media report, Shibulal has invested in over 700 apartments spread across the Seattle and Bellevue area of US.
"This is symptomatic of the fact that not many profitable investment opportunities exists and that Indian capital has to go out to seek profitable opportunities. But first capital has to be invested in the country of origin which is India. Only if you don't find avenues that it should go out. Even if it is at some difficulty. At the end of the day who would care about India if not Indians," Deveshwar later told dna.
"You would be happy to know that 65 projects involving a built-up area of 28 million sqft with an outlay of over Rs 25,000 crore are currently under implementation or in advanced stages of planning. These projects are distributed across a majority of states," Deveshwar told shareholders.
This includes 8 hotels being added and another 18 being planned.
Deveshwar's patriotic sweep also targeted the MNCs, particularly the FMCG biggies, who remit royalty on the sales of every packet of chips, bottled water or even idlis!
ITC in contrast has taken great efforts in building home-grown brands like Bingo or Vivel, Deveshwar told reporters during a press conference.
To give boost to the food processing sector, the government should make it tax free, he demanded.
ITC has no plans to get out of cigarette business on its own even as incidence of punitive taxation goes up progressively, he said.
"Our presence ensures that least amount of smuggling of cigarettes take place. Also, we are using our cash flow from this business to invest in industries of tomorrow, " ITC chairman said.