#85 M.K. Venu: Jun 22, 2009 08:13:58

'Vir Sanghvi actually pre-empted me a little (Laughs) There was a line I was going to take ... In critical resources there should be, uh, national policy... You are not a Banana Republic...'

#85 M.K. Venu: Jun 22, 2009 08:13:58

Niira Radia:  Venu, hi. Sorry I... you called.

M.K. Venu:  Yeah, Nira I, you know I saw this interesting story in Business Standard.

Niira Radia:  Ahaan.

M.K. Venu:  About how, you know this Defence Offset Policy.

Niira Radia:  Ahaan.

M.K. Venu:  You know Defence Offset Policy is what, the government you know, is, you know, government is going to buy about hundred and fifty thousand crore worth of defence equipment over the next (not clear) phase, five years (not clear)

Niira Radia:  Yeah, yeah. I’m aware of it.

M.K. Venu:  Now under the Offset Policy TATAs and L&Ts and Mahindras (Niira Radia:  Yeah, I’ve seen that) are tying up with foreign defence manufacturers about 30% of that will have to be purchased from India or will have to invested in India in equipment.

Niira Radia:  Correct

M.K. Venu:  So that creates an opportunity of fifty thousand crore over next five years (Niira Radia:  Hmm…hmm.) For the work to be done in India hmm…so that’s the offset policy. (Niira Radia:  Hmm…hmm.) Now, do you think if we did a television story..umm..on how the Offset Policy will work out at the joint venture level and the BS (Business Standard) story talks about the JVP (not audible) you know

Niira Radia:  Ya, ya,

M.K. Venu:  So, people will talk some, say TATAs, Mahindras and of course the L&T? We just want to build a comprehensive story you know. You think it will be possible?

Niira Radia:  Ya, maybe, I’ll get one or two, whoever are they, maybe the one or two who have done the Swarovski deal, or maybe one of them.

M.K. Venu:  Ya? Because the TATA are speaking to  Israel, the leading Israeli company you know, (Niira Radia:  Ya, ya), French company and all you know (Niira Radia:  Ya, ya). Because this is interesting even from the market perspective, because each of these deals will have an upside, topline upside you know of 20-30%, for that company, you know, which may be listed in the market also no.

Niira Radia:  Hmm, Hmm, hmm, hmmm. Yeah, let me know when you’re planning to do it, I’ll have a word.

M.K. Venu:  Ya, hmm. And one more thing Nira, just a small favour.

Niira Radia:  Uh..haan.

M.K. Venu:  (clears throat) you know we (clears throat) there’s a, you know there’s a, I mean I’m saying this, because I, I’m responsible know there’s a girl who joined, very bright girl who joined ET Now, she used to be in CNBC for three four years and she was the best performer, then she got married and went off to US and now she has returned and joined (Niira Radia:  hmm) ET. Her name is Rohini Singh. So, I had actually brought her in into ET Now you know. (Niira Radia:  hmm) She’s coming after about a year, spending a year in the US with her husband (Niira Radia:  hmm, hmm). Now, but she has, of course she has network of contacts and just wanted her to be introduced to some people in your system.( Niira Radia:  Ok, so… ) So, I want to, next time I, can she come and meet you, generally, you know.

Niira Radia:  Ok. So, Venu this week I’m going, I’m going to Bombay, I’ll be back on Thursday.

M.K. Venu:  If actually you know, she’ll be covering policy you know, (Niira Radia:  ok) finance ministry, uh you know and some other key policies (Niira Radia:  hmm) So, since, uh, the people that you handle no, the TATAs and others (Niira Radia:  umm, hmm) they have always have their, all their activities have some policy implications na, (Niira Radia:  hmm, hmm). So, I just wanted you to help her out on the policy side of it, that’s all.

Niira Radia:  Ya, ya, sure, sure. No problem. No problem. Anytime, once I’m back then we meet on Thursday or Friday, no, no problem. I’ll be happy to help.

Vebu: because she, she joined last week and she done good, she’s done good, interesting stories also in the meanwhile.

Niira Radia:  Ahaan, what has she done?

M.K. Venu:  Ah, ya. She was in CNBC for three and a half four years ya.

Niira Radia:  Ahaan, ahaan, ahaan. How are things on the gas side?

M.K. Venu:  On the gas side? On the gas side Murli Deora statement came na that (Niira Radia:  ya, ya, ya, ya) government will protect its interest, you know.

Niira Radia:  Ya, Sunil Jain has done his bit to it today.

M.K. Venu:  What, what has he written?

Niira Radia:  No, nothing. Basically he is talking absolute non-sense. Why, why make RIL’s balance sheet fatter. (M.K. Venu:  hmm hmm) And what about the power sector which desperately needs gas. I mean, who’s saying that it’s not coming to them you know. (M.K. Venu:  hmm hmm) And the question is that are they going to pass the profits they make to the consumer? Of course, not. The PPA agreements are defined tariffs, you know.

M.K. Venu:  Ya, but I thought fertilizer precedes power no?

Niira Radia:  Ya. And fertilizer is that important for the common man in any case you know. (M.K. Venu:  Ya, ya.) In any case there are existing power plants also. These are all PPA based, uh, uh, tariff. Nobody is going to pass the benefit back.

M.K. Venu:  Ya, ya, ya. That’s all bulk you know.

Niira Radia:  Ya, he is all talking out of his hat, so. Uh, you’re doing your piece no Venu?

M.K. Venu:  Ya, I’m writing something, ya ya. Basically I am looking at a larger piece on, on, a bit like what, uh Vir Sanghvi actually pre-empted me a little (Laughs) (Niira Radia:  umm, hmm). There was a line I was going to take you know (Niira Radia:  hmm hmm). In critical resources there should be, uh, national policy. And national policy should, should, obviously supersede. I would, I was actually planning a strong piece, your not a Banana Republic you know, (Niira Radia:  Correct), where some, uh, bloody company is deciding, government policy you know, in Africa for instance.

Niira Radia:  Correct.

M.K. Venu:  So, so, you know. Anyway I’ll still write it.

Niira Radia:  Ya, but you know

M.K. Venu:  (cuts in) You saw Vir Sanghvi’s piece na?

Niira Radia:  Ya, I saw it yesterday. But you know, I guess I think he’s gone more into the sort of corruption and ministers.

M.K. Venu:  No, no, I’m not into that. Ya, ya, I’ll be writing..

Niira Radia:  He overshot it a bit, ya.

M.K. Venu:  Ya, ya. I wanted to also, this, Baijal give a statement that he wanted to auctioning should be done on a, on a, wholesome basis not, you know. I wanted to understand that argument also.

Niira Radia:  Ya. Ok. You want to talk to him? You got his mobile no?

M.K. Venu:  Ya. Ya. I’ll speak to him. Ya, ya.

Niira Radia:  Ya, ya. And I also think if you look at it, the question is you’re right, it should be the national policy and not some tribunal High Court judges deciding what it is na, who don’t understand what is economics na.

M.K. Venu:  Yaa. Nira, can you tell one of your researchers to give me just (Niira Radia:  ahaan) to give me just one, two three figures. I just need two three big figures, (Niira Radia:  hmm), which is just total value of spectrum (Niira Radia:  hmm), potential value, you know.

Niira Radia:  In both 2G, 3G space?

M.K. Venu:  Ya, ya. Total value, potential value, total potential value of spectrum that exists, that is going to be auctioned and potential value of the, uh uh, coal reserves uh. The total value of coal reserves, gas and iron ore you know. If these four things I get then I can consolidate them, you know, into a big figure, and I’ll say that these, I mean, are the, are the, national wealth you know.

Niira Radia:  Umm, ok. I’ll get that, I’ll get, I’ll get it put on your email today?

M.K. Venu:  Ya, ya. It makes sense na?

Niira Radia:  Ya, ya, makes lot of sense. But you know it’s a huge figure. (M.K. Venu:  I know, but) In the case of coal you know, we, we, we haven’t even touched the surface you know.

M.K. Venu:  Ya, I believe coal reserves are some two hundred billion tonnes or something no?

Niira Radia:  Ya, that’s what. But we haven’t even started to, started to mine further. (M.K. Venu:  Umm, hmm.) (Nira speaking: inaudible). Ya, ya, but I’ll get the figures to you.

M.K. Venu:  Basically the point that I want to make is that if this is the value of, if this is national wealth, which needs to be harnessed to the optimal in the national interest, so the competition should not fall, uh, prey to crony capitalism you know.

Niira Radia:  Right.

M.K. Venu:  Basically that’s the point I want to make you know.

Niira Radia:  Right. Right. Right. And what on the judgement Venu? Uh, sorry to you know ask.

M.K. Venu:  No, no. As for the judgement, I will, I will focus. Infact I will start with the judgement only you know.

Niira Radia:  Umm hmm. Umm hmm.

M.K. Venu:  So…uh. In fact I’m trying to speak to one or two constitutional experts, in general terms on whether, you know. Somebody like Shanti Bhushan (Niira Radia:  hmm..hmm) or you know. So, on my own what are the constitutional provisions which might apply to this, uh, to this you know (Niira Radia:  umm hmm) to a case like this you know.

Transcript by Pooja Naik, checked by OL