It’s sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence: Ratan Tata

Sun22May11

Tata group chief Ratan Tata has said he is surprised why fellow tycoon Mukesh Ambani wants to live in the opulence of a billion-dollar home in south Mumbai.

“It makes me wonder why someone would do that,” Tata said in an interview published on Saturday in The Times newspaper of London. “The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and (ask) can he make a difference,” Tata said when asked about Antilla, the 27-storey Ambani home on Altamount Road. “If he is not, then it is sad because India needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways to mitigate the hardship that people have.” Expressing concern about the rich-poor gap, Tata said, “We are doing so little about the disparity. We are allowing it to be there and wishing it away.”

The tycoon, who bought steel maker Corus and car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover in 2006 and 2008 to become the biggest manufacturing employer in Britain, also questioned the work ethic of British managers, saying they did not “go the extra mile” unlike their Indian counterparts. “It’s a work ethic issue. In my experience, in both Corus and JLR, nobody is willing to go the extra mile, nobody. I feel if you have come from Mumbai to have a meeting and the meeting goes on till 6pm, I would expect that you won’t, at 5 o’clock, say, ‘Sorry, I have my train to catch. I have to go home’.”

Stating that things were different back home, Tata added, “If you are in a crisis (in India), it means working till midnight, you would do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that; the management is not.” He said earlier, JLR’s entire engineering group would be empty on Friday evenings. But that had changed. “The new management team has put an end to that. They call meetings at 5 o’clock.”

Tata also spoke about having had to shift Nano’s 85% installed plant from Bengal to Gujarat following Mamata Banerjee’s opposition. “In the dead of night, you had to start taking tools out of that factory, build another factory, deliver a car from an interim factory; and do all this in a year. The first thing you (the JLR management) will say is, ‘It can’t be done, that you will need a court order or police cover.’. Yet we did it.”

His comments come as Tata Steel proposes to close part of its plant in the UK, putting at risk 1,200 jobs.

Tata said the UK had a high level of despondency about itself. “I have a greater degree of bullishness about the UK and what it stands for. But nobody seems to want to make the effort to make the UK truly competitive or bring it back to the glory that it was. I think there is a feeling that there is no innovationthere is great innovation in the UK. There is great technology,” he said.

Tata, who is a member of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s business advisory group and co-chairman of the UK-India CEO Forum, said India was lucky to have Barack Obama in the US and Cameron in the UK. “Both of them are open to ideas; they are very pragmatic in their views. Each of them feels that India is a land of some opportunity for themselves. I think he (Cameron) is doing something quite far-sighted because we really have long traditional ties with England.”

Tata was the only person outside the government to have had two private meetings with the British PM during his first three months in office.

Originally at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Its-sad-Mukesh-Ambani-lives-in-such-opulence-Ratan-Tata/articleshow/8497118.cms

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