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Impact: Preet Mandir kids rescued

16:28 PM July 10, 2006

Washington: Newsweek magazine's international edition has devoted a full-length cover story on Mukesh Ambani, describing him as India's most influential businessman and one who thinks bigger than the rest. The latest edition of the news magazine which will hit the stands on July 17 says ''India's top tycoon hopes to kick the country's nascent boom into hyper drive by re-making its stores, farms and even its biggest cities''. It said Ambani was all that even before a bitter internal feud led to a split in his family conglomerate. The breakup, finalised in January, left him in control of the larger (and largely petrochemical) share, Reliance Industries, and that behemoth has seen its fortunes soar ever since. Calling him ''India's Mister Big'', the cover story says Ambani has finalized plans to invest more than $11 billion over the next decade to build two new satellite cities outside Mumbai and Delhi. Ambani plans, according to the story, to invest $5 billion by 2011 to put both farms and stores on the road to modernity, connect them through a distribution system guided by the latest logistics technology and create enough of a surplus to generate $20 billion in agricultural exports annually. It says, if his plan succeeds consumers will get fresher food at lower prices, rural incomes will soar, farmers will become active consumers and Reliance will become ''a Wal Mart in India''. The agricultural export boom will bring India's farmers into the global economy, as IT has done for its college grads. ''We are rebalancing the world,'' says Ambani in the story. ''We are in fact lucky to be at the right place at the right time, contributing to our self-confidence as Indians. That's what energizes me.'' It's a vision in which everyone wins, which helps explain the silence of any doubters. According to the report, Ambani's favourite scheme aims to revolutionize in one swoop two of India's largest but most backward sectors: farming and retail.

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