Mining for inclusive growth: Mr.D.R.Patnaik

In an exclusive interview with the mining baron Mr.D.R.Patnaik with a wide range of issues beyond mining.

by Priya Bharti
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Q1.would you please tell briefly about your success story?

Ans – My success story has been a atypical of rags to riches accentuated by hard work, focus and good luck.

Although I have never wavered from hard work and focused effort, I have been blessed with good fortune by the Almighty

I started off from very humble beginning and faced multiple obstacles along the way. Even today I keep on facing day to day obstacles but I no longer fret over them as much as I used to in the past which has taught me to be resilient.

My mantra to others would be never be afraid of the obstacles that come in your way because if you want to succeed you are not going to do so by being afraid of the process of becoming successful.

2 Recently youngsters rush to grab success overnight hence they have been exposed in their field of execution?

The sudden emergence of a group of youngsters who have become successful overnight either through media (Youtube), entertainment (singers, performers) or through entrepreneurship has influenced a lot of youngsters to rush after overnight success.

Definitely, some of the success has come almost instantaneously can be attributed to being at the right place at the right time and good luck. However, most of the successful media stars or influencers or entrepreneurs have put in a lot of background effort to reach the level that they have reached today.

Youngsters see the glamour, glitz and the riches that accompany these people but forget to acknowledge or see behind the pains, failures and efforts that the successful people have gone through to reach the level they have.

Regarding their exposure in the field of execution it is something which cannot be taught theoretically or not something which one is born with. Execution abilities are primarily acquired from exposure in the field. Some might be smart enough to pick up the execution skills at one go whereas others might take some more time. In any case, execution is a capability which can be acquired but its development is not dependent on innate qualities.

3. You have seen the the growth mining industry in close quarters as well its meltdown,can you please what’s the future lies ahead in this Industry?

The basic principles of Economics apply towards all industries. The two main principles affecting the Mining industry are the Law of supply and demand and the Hand of government in improving the market conditions.

Demand in turn is driven by three things, private operators, public initiatives and private public initiatives. For the Mining industry, public-private partnerships is the maximum amount of consumption demand which has been subdued in the last few years. However it’s consequent pickup and sustained growth is dependent on both private and public players do. What the future holds for the Mining industry can be determined by what government policies are in store for us and how private players react to it.

4. Are you happy their way both Central Govt. and State Govt. trying to push this industry ahead by auctioning few mines therefore the market would be flourishing?

Both the state government and the central governments have continuous been playing the part to make improvements to this industry. The iron and steel industry is a key raw material industry along with others such as oil and gas. The importance of this industry is accentuated more into the fact this is a raw material wherein the entire domestic demand can be met by domestic supply, which is not in the case of oil and gas industries.

Many of the initiatives or strategies taken by both Central and State governments, especially central government (as mining and natural resources are under the purview of central governmental supervision) have seen mixed success. The rationale behind the same is that when a strategy or step is executed, its final successful implementation and impact is dependent on a myriad of factors, not all of which can be determined during the initial analysis. Therefore we need to wait and watch before ascertaining the actual effect of these policies by the governments. I personally am convinced of the intent displaced by both the state and Central governments.

5. DMF fund is an issue of concern as my owners put huge funds in this for shaping the affected areas to be uplifted since local District administration has been unable to use it effectively.

As in the previous answer, I would like to state that the intent behind the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund is a governmental initiative, which is noble and targeted at very practical and prevalent issues such as improving the drinking water supply, environmental Preservation and pollution control, Health Care, Education and women and children welfare. A substantial portion of the amount collected has been allocated and subsequently, some part has been spent in all of these domains. However, as this Foundation came into existence in 2015 and was properly instituted only in 2016-17, it will take some time before we are able to observe the effectiveness of its activities.

6. You have been becoming the highest taxpayer Nationally a couple of times Therefore you people must have to say in the structuring of Indian Mining Policies, But that has been a pipe dream.

Firstly regarding being India’s highest taxpayers it’s neither done consciously nor something that happens by chance.
The tax payment is a direct function of the business turnover and if we have a productive year in business, it translates into an enhanced tax outflow. My organization and I have adhered to without fail is to pay taxes and all other statutory liabilities on time and in the appropriate measure. Stealing from the government or not adhering to statutory policies is a persistent problem plaguing our economy. We never had to worry about avoiding or evading taxes, which has resulted that our tax payments has been always the correct amount and translated into one of the highest in the country.

Every Indian citizen has fundamental rights and constitutional duties. I do not see ourselves as special just because we have been the highest taxpayer in the country to have a say in structuring Indian mining policies. I strongly believe if there is a good idea or ethical and practical structure which can be prescribed for uplifting the industry the voice will be heard whether it’s mine as a high-income tax paying individual or it’s an expert of the industry who knows much more and analyses the industry much more than me.

7. What would be your piece of advice for the Govts? to strengthen its root in considering your expertise?

I can always provide positive statements, however, providing normative statements for strengthening the root of business by addressing the fundamentals, by the government is something left best to policy and industry experts. I have been in the industry for over four decades now and has seen its ups and downs I can always provide enough data on the prevalent trends and analysis of the mining industry in the past which might act as input for the government for predicting the future. In the meantime, I exercise refrain from making recommendations apart from practical data inputs.

8. Frankly telling you that you do maintain a very low profile in looking at your stature, why do so?

I don’t think that I maintain a very low profile. I maintain a profile that suits me and keeps me and others around me happy. I do not Crave recognition, Fame, wealth, adulation, or other material things. In fact, by not running after these qualities, has actually helped me in achieving these. Whatever I have received in life has not been a direct outcome of hard work and merit but also of good luck and blessings from above. I am humbled and would like to stay grounded always. I definitely fulfill my basic necessities but luxury is only enjoyed if they translate into something of tangible value or of joy to me. To service my profile maintenance I do what comes to me naturally and keep myself contended not something that people expect me to do to match my stature or financial profile

9. Still at your age you go to the office regularly and too look after developments of the office at regular intervals, what keeps you fit and motivated?

First of all, what do you think my age is. I am not as old as you might think me to be. On a more serious note and more importantly, going to office is a task I do not view it as a work or hard labor but rather as an extension of myself. Working is not a burden or something that I do for money or material things. It is something I enjoy thoroughly and which comes naturally to me and keeps me not only on my toes but also satisfied. I and my office work 7 days a week irrespective of holidays and it is not a coercive action on my colleagues but everybody is open to working whenever they want to. Working continually does have a positive impact on keeping me mentally Agile and fit because I believe by working I am able to positively contribute to society and especially to people around me

To illustrate an example if I was not working and didn’t have a company providing employment opportunities, I would not have been able to provide employment opportunities to a few people whose lives are positively affected by it.

Retirement is a word that does not exist in my dictionary. Leading a normal life requires me to be keeping myself engaged in productive activities which translates into a positive impact on society as a whole including myself

10. How do you see the States future?

Our state Orissa has seen gradual but steady progress for the past four decades. I believe with the right people at the helm of affairs we will continue to see sustained progress. Unlike the public perception of people nationally and outside, I believe the state is poised to take giant strides in the future to establish itself as one of the most productive states in the country

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