‘India has all the resources. What we need is a simple exploration policy, put the entrepreneur first’
In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Anil Agarwal, Executive Chairman, Vedanta, says the "world's largest democracy is under threat" if it doesn't explore its resources
My guest this week is someone who is almost never out of news but almost never speaks to the media—Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta. Why are you so shy of the media?
I am not shy but we are not in that kind of business. When we have to go and raise our money, our equity, we have to be in the public, make sure the public knows. But otherwise, we have no consumer product so we do not have to advertise and talk to the media.
How do you feel when people describe the mining industry or resource industry as 'extractive'. Is that a fair characterisation?
No. In the film industry, there are item songs. It depends on how they are done—they can be elegant, they can be vulgar...
...the difference lies in how it is done. So are you saying extraction can be done elegantly and with less harm?
India is an amazing story. We have all the resources. We used to be 'sone ki chidiya'. We still are. If you ask the Geological Survey of India or MECL (Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited), they will tell you we are so rich in minerals. We need our resources—oil, gas, steel, aluminium, copper. India can't remain an import-based economy.
Most of our resources are now imported. Can we avoid it?
Absolutely. That is the whole turning point today. The entire developing world has done it—China has done it, Brazil has done it and India is following. India has opened up. We need at least 10 or 15 oil companies. We have to be energy sufficient. And energy sufficiency is about oil, gas and coal.