Home > India, Indian Economy, Indian media, Politics, Social Trends > Mukesh Ambani weighs in on taxi drivers’ side. Infrastructure for the poor – III

Mukesh Ambani weighs in on taxi drivers’ side. Infrastructure for the poor – III

… During a panel discussion at the London School of Economics organised to release Rajya Sabha MP N.K. Singh’s book Not by Reason Alone: The Politics of Change … Mr. Ambani’s remark (ed) that while India’s corporate world had moved away from ‘licence raj’ after economic liberalisation, Mumbai’s “poor taxi-walla is still dealing with licence raj” was received with applause from the gathering. (via The Hindu : News / National : Mumbai belongs to all of India: Mukesh Ambani, bold letters added).

Concerned Mukesh Ambani

Kolkatta taxis - not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs

Kolkatta taxis - not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs

Mr.Ambani is seriously and really surprised and bothered that ‘liberalization’ has left the poor and the small people in India behind.

I could suspect that Mr.Ambani was scoring brownie points in London. Or I can suspect he was being simply ‘correct’.

But this simple observation is so direct, that it would be churlish on my part to recognize this remark for what it is. Mukesh Ambani is bothered about this regulatory overload.

You are right Mukeshbhai! As usual, in ‘Desert Bloc’ political duratantrik systems, which ‘modern’ India explicitly follows, the poor are forgotten. That is not unusual.

Your care and concern, Mukeshbhai,  is unusual.

Kolkatta taxis – not much better off than Mumbai taxi-wallahs (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
  1. Galeo Rhinus
    February 7, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I assume he was referring to the proposed law that Maharashtra government is consdering that mumbai taxiwalas, to get a license, will be required to know marathi…

    …I think many taxi drivers are often not the license holders… they simply rent the taxi from an owner… now is the Maharashtra government planning to create laws that will test language skills of both the license holder *and* the driver?

    I am assuming Mukesh Ambani was simply making a political point…

  2. February 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

    There are two documents: –

    1. Taxi permit – which goes with the taxi.
    2. The driving licence – which goes with the taxi-driver.

    Both are needed to operate a taxi.

    The two may belong to the same person – or may belong to different people on each day of the year.

    Mukesh Ambani rarely (if at all) makes political points or discussions – as in taking sides. However, he is very active and clear where he stands on any policy – and active at the commentary level.

    Hence, I would discount the ‘political statement’ reading of this reaction 100%. The split between the Ambani brothers was partly a result of Anil Ambani’s entry into politics.


    Possibly, you are worried how come a rich ‘rentier’ like Mukesh Ambani can side with a poor taxiwallah! Why worry!


    Mukesh Ambani may have made a ‘mistake’ – and sided with the poor Mumbai taxi-wallah! Maybe he will make ‘amends’ for his ‘mistake’. One swallow does not a summer make! Maybe, I am very desperate and reading too much meaning into a casual comment.

    Time will tell.

  3. Galeo Rhinus
    February 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I see Mukeshbhai’s comment as a sarcastic comment on the state of politics in Maharashtra – which between the Shiv Sena and Congress is stuck in the license raj mentality.

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