Recall | ‘Money means nothing to me, really’: Mukesh Ambani


JANUARY 25, 2023

There is often a story behind the story. As Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani wrapped up his presentation at the India Today Conclave 2017, India Today group editorial director (publishing) Raj Chengappa probed deeper into how the country’s business icon interpreted the nation and the world. Excerpts:

Q. Your speech was a blueprint, not just of technology and the future, but for the development of the country. Have you ever thought of becoming a politician? 

I don’t think politics is my strength.

Q. You actually welcomed Donald Trump’s election and said it should benefit India. Why? 

It will reverse the brain drain. Some of our brightest people are working outside the country. If they are brought back to this country to put together a new developmental model, there cannot be a better blessing in disguise. All things happen in the world at the right time and right place. So it’s high time our brightest sparks work for the benefit of India and Indians.

Q. After his famous victory in UP, what should Prime Minister Narendra Modi do to reinvigorate the economy? 

We are blessed to have a leader who understands not only the people but the world. And who also understands technology. I think that the blueprint is laid out; it’s all about execution. This generation is an impatient one. I am sure, with good execution, we will exceed the expectations of this generation.

Q. How do you remove the bureaucratic roadblocks to execute the prime minister’s grand schemes? 

When you focus on your goal, you overcome all obstacles. When you focus on the obstacle, you will never reach your goal. If we think that the bureaucracy is an obstacle, technology is the best way to overcome this. With the e-governance pieces that we are seeing, and with what we are seeing at Jio, in terms of actually creating transparency for citizens, you can serve them. People will force us to change our systems. And frankly, from what I see on the ground, this is happening at a much faster rate. The India of today is changing and changing very fast.

Q. What more needs to be done about ease of doing business in India? 

I am a no-excuses guy. We have a historic opportunity in front of us. We need get out of the old mindset that ‘aap yeh teen-chaar cheej pehle karo, uske baad main sochta hun’ (do these three or four things first, then we will think about it). We just need to deliver without making excuses.

Q. You have already achieved so much. Is there a hunger to do anything more? 

Until my father brought me into Reliance, I was pretty sure I wanted to either work at the World Bank or teach as a professor. With my wife being a teacher, she is now saying that it’s high time that you teach. So both of us will be involved in education in the coming years.

Q. How much more money do you want? What does money mean to you? 

Nothing really. My father said it very well. He said that if you start anything just to make money, you are a fool because you will never make any money or be a billionaire. If you start with a purpose and if your purpose is that you want to be the best in the world, you want to do what nobody else has done, then money is a by-product and that by-product should never be important. I still follow his advice.

(This year, the India Today Conclave will be held on March 17-18 at the Taj Palace, New Delhi)

Courtesy/Source: India Today