One of the best Advertisements which depicts the true mindset of an average Indian middle-class member is the ‘Maruti Suzuki Kitna Deti Hai – Juno‘ ad. In the ad, the character which portrays the role of a scientist, explains an ambitious project of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) with a bunch of complex terminologies; Ultra-wavelength Microwave Radiometer, specially designed Ultra Engines etc etc.
He also goes ahead to boast, how this Spaceship will take the Astronaut to Jupiter in just one year. In the midst of all this, an Indian man with glasses confronts the NASA scientist with a very serious question ‘Kitna Deti Hai?’ (How much will it give?). He was clearly curious as to how much mileage the spaceship will be providing.
From this ad, one can clearly decipher the fact that most Indian middle-class members are ‘Chathur Baniya‘ (Clever Businessmen). This ad was aired sometime in 2010, and by 2014 our scientists championed a space mission named ‘Mangalyaan’, which enabled us to reach Mars at Rs 7 per km.
Patanjanli’s entry into the Indian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector has created quite a jolt for the big players; Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Dabur, Nestle, Godrej and Colgate-Palmolive. Patanjali’s biggest target in the consumer sector has been the Indian middle-class household.
With a reported turnover of Rs 10,561 crore in financial year 2017 (FY 17), Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna have gone ahead to set a highly ambitious target of Rs 20,000 crore in the financial year 2017-18 (FY 18). Having a wide variety of products, ranging from chocolate bars, shampoos to basmati rice, Patanjali eyes to capture nearly 20% of the food processing market as well in the current fiscal year.
Hailing from Chennai, I have personally seen the rise of Patanjali in the consumer side. Unlike North India, Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna are not popular down South, yet their market share seems to be increasing exponentially. Their products are not only lined up in major supermarkets, but there has been a steady increase in the number of retail shops which exclusively sell Patanjali products.
As per my deduction, the Patanjali products have been a major hit with the Indian consumers for three simple reasons:-
- Quality of the Product
- Value for Money (Competitive Pricing)
- Organic value of the Product
The above three dedications are not randomly drawn, but they are results which are after drawn after extensively watching how Patanjali has grown in the market from 2015. The below table will give you a consolidated view of the yearly performance of ‘Patanjali Ayurved Limited’ with other FMCG majors.
^ Amount in INR crores, * Nestle Results are calendar year, ~ Excluding ITC Source: Axis Capital, IIFL Research, TFI Research (Data as per Jan 2016)
As I said, the Indian middle-class members are ‘Chathur Baniya’ and it is not so easy to fool them by simply projecting a Hindutva icon.
Recent reports in ‘The Indian Express’ suggested that Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has given tax exempt status to Baba Ramdev’s ‘Patanjali Yogpeeth (a public charitable trust)’. The tribunal made its decision based on the fact that Patanjali Yogpeeth is involved in providing medical relief and its camps impart education. This IT exemption is given under sections 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act.
Patanjali Yogpeeth is one of the largest yoga institutes in India. Named after the Rishi Patanjali, it is Baba Ramdev’s flagship project. Its purpose is to research and develop yoga & ayurveda, as well as manufacture ayurvedic medicines. Acharya Balkrishna is the General Secretary of Patanjali Yogpeeth.
Here, I would like to point out to the basic difference between Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Patanjali Yogpeeth. While Patanjali Ayurved Limited is the company which sells products to the consumers in the FMCG sector, Patanjali Yogpeeth is a charitable trust which is involved in research and development of Yoga and Ayurveda medicine alone. There is a clear distinction between both the organizations.
As per information from zaubacorp, Baba Ramdev does not feature in the list of Directors of Patanjali Ayurved Limited, infact Ramdev holds no shares in Patanjali at all. He is the company’s de facto brand ambassador, while Balkrishna runs operations.
While Patanjali Yogpeeth has got tax exemption from the Modi Government, which is synchronous with their agenda to take Yoga and Ayurveda all across the world, the same TAX EXEMPTION IS NOT GIVEN to Patanjali Ayurved Limited.
Former Union Minister and Senior Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor is a very active member in social media. On July 10th 2017, he had shared an article on Facebook from Dailyo, titled ‘Tax-exempt status to Patanjali is a slap in the face of other FMCG players‘.
Shashi Tharoor had gone ahead to describe this article with an impressive tag line, ‘Crony Capitalism running amok, discredits Modinomics and Govt Policy‘. It has been shared nearly 85,000 times on the internet, quite a massive reach right?
This article has referred to the same ‘The Indian Express’ article that I had referred on Patanjali’s tax exemption.
The author of this article has gone ahead to accuse Babe Ramdev of scandal to FMCG majors, ‘Not only does Baba Ramdev use his “yogic” credentials to sell everything from noodles to skinny jeans, his Yogpeeth is the peg on which his FMCG empire hangs, and his brand value pretty much rests‘.
He goes on to suggest the same tone used by Shashi Tharoor to accuse the Modi Government of unethical nepotism, ‘With one company getting tax benefits, how can it be a level playing field? Moreover, it is no secret that demonetisation hurt major FMCG players badly including sector leaders such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Nestle — two of the biggest names in the industry.‘
It would have taken few minutes in google for both Shashi Tharoor and the author, to understand the basic difference between Patanjali Ayurved Limited and Patanjali Yogpeeth, and the fact the FMCG is still a growing industry in India. What was the need to spread such Fake News without verification?
What about the alleged crony capitalism brewing between DLF & Robert Vadra/Priyanka Gandhi and National Herald & Sonia/Rahul Gandhi? Will the Minister question the Modi Government as to why he is yet to take any action, inspite of his electoral promise he made to the Indian public?
To sum it all up, Is the article shared by Former Minister Shashi Tharoor, an example of ‘exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies being broadcast by an unprincipled showman masquerading as a facebook user‘?