IDFC First Bank MD and CEO V Vaidyanathan on Wednesday said that the lens through which people now see entrepreneurship, in a positive way, is the biggest change that has happened in the country in the last few years. He said now people have recognised that entrepreneurs pay taxes, and grow the economy.
Vaidyanathan, a career banker, founded Capital First Ltd in 2012 which later merged with IDFC Bank and became IDFC First Bank.
During a fireside chat with Business Today Editor Sourav Majumdar at BT500 Wealth Creators Summit, the banker touched upon the changes that have happened in the country for businesses and how entrepreneurship is encouraged, and profit is no longer a bad word.
To back his point, the top executive referred to some Bollywood movies of the 1980s-90s. He said in those days, all villain characters played by Pran, Prem Chopra, and Danny were businessmen, but that no longer happens.
"If you go back in time, if you see the villains of Indian movies in the 1980s and 90s, Pran, Prem Chopra, and Danny - they were all businessmen. Now, nobody portrays businesspeople as (villains)," Vaidyanathan said while responding to a question on what had changed from the days when he was a career banker and now when he was an entrepreneur banker.
"Now, entrepreneurship is accepted. Entrepreneurship is seen as a source of employment creation. The government speaks these days about ease of doing business," the banker added during the session titled 'Financial Roadmap To $5 Trillion Economy'.
Vaidyanathan, who is credited with having changed the lending space, said that now the good quality and global-scale institutions are getting created, "which is a very big thing". "Because India had a bunch of small-scale industries, companies were with a market cap of no more than Rs 1,000-2,000 crore in 20-30 years ago. Suddenly, we now have firms with a market cap of Rs 5 to 10 lakh crore."
The banker said that governance was becoming a really big deal in the country and the number of people who were participating in the process of creating wealth - in the form of stock options - had dramatically changed. "Where was that even 10-20 years ago? Governance, quality of leadership, and infrastructure - all of this have dramatically changed."
When asked about changes in infrastructure finance, which no institutions wanted to do a few years ago but was suddenly financing, Vaidyanathan said there was a time between late 2000 and 2014-15 when institutions were not clear about once an infrastructure project was funded, whether they would get land clearance, environmental clearance, and things would get stuck.
"But now, most project financing is happening after getting these clearances. So that projects don't get struck. The second big difference is that when institutions are financing it, many are financing it after a project is completed."
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