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Govt Living in Echo Chamber, Unwilling to Hear Problems of Businesses: Milind Deora on Siddhartha's Death

File photo of Congress leader Milind Deora.

File photo of Congress leader Milind Deora.

While speaking on the Café Coffee Day founder’s death, the Congress leader said a thorough probe was required to find out why a seasoned entrepreneur like him took the extreme step.

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Vinaya Deshpande

Mumbai: Hours after tweeting about the concerns raised by VG Siddhartha’s death, Congress leader Milind Deora came down heavily on the BJP-led NDA government for its “anti-business” policies. "The government is living in echo chambers. It doesn’t want to listen to the problems faced by the business community,” Deora told News18.

“If you are asking me, based on my interaction with traders — from small businesses to large business houses, businesses are facing a lot of stress. I think, the scary part is, businesses are afraid to tell the government and speak out about the distress they are facing. So the government has in a sense created an echo chamber for itself wherein you are not allowed to criticise its policies. As a result, the government is living in a bubble. It doesn't know what is happening on the ground. The death of a celebrated entrepreneur like Siddhartha is unfortunate, but hopefully it will shake up the government and awaken it to reflect on and review some of its policies,” he said.

While speaking on the Café Coffee Day founder’s death, the Congress leader said a thorough probe was required to find out why a seasoned entrepreneur like him took the extreme step.

“It is very shocking and distressing not just for me, but for people who knew the brand, the company and were introduced to coffee through Cafe Coffee Day. I knew him to be a very seasoned entrepreneur. He had been around for a very long time and had weathered many a storm. He had gone through demonetisation, global financial crisis, all of which had a massive impact on consumer businesses like his. His suicide and the letter should be thoroughly probed.”

When asked if political parties were trying to politicise the situation, he said, “I think this is beyond party A or party B. We owe it to our entrepreneurial community and we should ensure that there is a truly conducive environment for them to flourish and work. The government has set a very ambitious target of turning India into a $5 trillion economy and that is welcome. But who is going to do that? It is the businessmen, small and medium traders who take risks, who aren’t afraid of failure. For many entrepreneurs, risk and failure are an integral part of the package. People fail, businesses fail. But if businesses fail, should you get punished? Should you get hounded? Whatever the law is, follow it. But on top of that, should you be harassed and hounded? If that is what’s happening and that is what we have been hearing from our business community, then it is very unfortunate.”

Deora said it was time for the government to introspect about its business policies, moving beyond the policy papers. “I think, at one level, we need to probe his death, the letter. At a much larger level, the government seriously needs to introspect on its business policies and move beyond just rhetoric and announcements. It needs to actually make sure that these are translating on the ground,” he said.

He added that many companies were going through stress due to the economic slump. “Several companies today are going through a lot of stress. But he (VG Siddhartha) wasn’t a new entrepreneur and had weathered many a storm. For him to take this drastic step means that something has gone really wrong. What is it? Is it investigative overreach? Were the agencies or other bodies harassing him? As has been found in the alleged letter, those are the things that need to be investigated,” he said.

“It is a matter of deep concern not just for the entrepreneurial community, small or medium businesses, but for the entire country. It is in our national interest that we grow economically and give jobs to our youths. And to do that, you need to create a conducive environment for the businesses to flourish,” the Congress leader said.


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