ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEW DELHI-Economic Salvation through Multinationals

Economic Salvation through Multinationals B M WHILE reiterating his fondness for partnership between Indian companies and multinationals in his speech in- augurating the Chem-Tech exhibition at Bombay, the Vice-President of India, Hidayatullah, referred to his earlier widely noted speech at Delhi in which he first came out with a case for shedding distrust of multinationals and allowing them a wide role in India in collaboration with Indian business interests. He claimed that his views on multinationals were his own and did not necessarily represent those of the government. This was something of a surprising claim for someone in his position to make. But it is also understood that his Delhi speech had been drafted for him in the Commerce Ministry and he had read out his speech. The Commerce Minister, on his part, speaking from the same platform had further reinforced the position taken by the Vice-President and elaborated on it There has been speculation since then about the drift of official policy on multinationals, especially against the background of the ouster of Coca- Cola and IBM during the brief period of Janata in power. Hidayatullah had made specific mention of that fact in his speech. He said: "We have noticed of late in India a sudden distrust of multinationals and indeed it was apprehended at one time that like Coca- Cola and the IBM and some others the multinationals one by one will have to quit. At present there is certain remission in that apprehension". The question immediately came up whether this was a command performance. Hidayatullah's assertion at Bombay that these were his personal views and not of the government has not given a convincing answer to the question. On the contrary, the question has received added relevance.

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