There's politics, there's lobbying, and then there's Oscar Meyer b-a-l-o-n-e-y. You make the call what this is.
According to the Indian Business Review, some of India's top tycoons have had it up to here with getting rich.
Not only is political gridlock slowing economic reforms like the opening up of the retail sector to more foreign investment, but it takes forever to get environmental clearance for strip mining projects and suchlike.
And you never know when your business might be raided to find out if you've been paying off regulators or distributing kickbacks to make sure the money keeps rolling in.
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“I'm sick and tired of what's happening here. I don't want to live in this country anymore," said one of India's biggest barons. Most Indian corporate bigwigs seem to share this sentiment as of late. There could be several reasons for this. For one, most big barons from telecom and textiles to steel and real estate feel that the nation is becoming politically weak with the government constantly scam-struck. Add to this, there are persistent obstructions and no sense of security due to the rise of raids and arrests of businessmen. Plus, it takes forever to get environmental clearance as well as to acquire land for business.
More than a few Billionaire Boys are voting with their feet, supposedly.
In the last one year, there has been a surge among many high-profile Indians buying homes abroad, especially in London. The list comprises of Bharti’s Sunil Mittal, the Munjals, Ravi Ruia and Sahara’s Subrato Roy. A former top banker based in London says, "Cities like London and Singapore are safe havens and the rule of law is clear. There is a sense of individual security and privacy."
One has to wonder about the wisdom of such moves, given the rosy forecast for the rich here in the land of rising inequality. The latest wealth study from Karvy Private Wealth says rich Indians can expect to see their fortunes triple by 2016.
That's a good chunk of change, even if the rupee hovers around 50 to the dollar a bit longer.