Give up your LPG subsidy, Gautam Adani tells his employees

Days after the PM’s ‘Give It Up’ call for the well-off to forego the subsidy, his good friend Gautam Adani sent a letter to his 8,000 employees urging them to do the same; some say they feel pressured into following the ‘appeal’ even though it is supposed to be voluntary

Just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a clarion call to the well-off to give up LPG subsidy, his good friend Gautam Adani was among the first to respond in a big way. The ‘Give It Up’ campaign was launched by the PM on March 27 and, just three days later, the Adani Group chairman nudged his employees to participate.

An appeal signed by Gautam Adani, dated March 30, was sent to all of the group’s nearly 8,000 employees in India, asking them to opt out of the LPG subsidy. What’s more, the form for opting out was attached to the mail, and the administration and the human resources teams were apprised of it, to get the form signed by the employees.

Gautam Adani
Gautam Adani

While some sources in the company insisted that compliance with Adani’s appeal is not mandatory, others said it did not feel strictly voluntary either, with department heads reportedly taking a keen interest in ensuring that the mail reached every employee.

File pic for representation
File pic for representation

Some even claimed that the move was designed to ensure that the company remained in the good books of the PM. An employee in the real estate division of Adani Group said the tone of the email made it very clear that the company wanted all the employees to give up the subsidy.

Gautam Adani sent out the appeal on March 30, just 3 days after Modi launched the ‘Give It Up’ campaign
Gautam Adani sent out the appeal on March 30, just 3 days after Modi launched the ‘Give It Up’ campaign

“I was indirectly told that I should opt out, but shouldn’t it be my decision? Why should a company, that has never paid for my LPG cylinder, suddenly ask me to give up the subsidy? Also, they are so serious that all the forms necessary for opting out are being sent to us and the HR and Admin departments are working extra hours to see to it that everyone fills out the form,” said the employee.

'Charity begins at home'
The appeal signed by Adani read, “As you are aware, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to the nation to voluntarily surrender the LPG subsidy, so that the benefits can go to the truly needy. In line with this appeal, as a responsible group and citizens. It has been felt appropriate for all of us to voluntarily opt out of the LPG subsidy.”

“This will be the genuine participation of people at large for people, who are financially compromised. Charity begins at home... Accordingly, your HR and Admin Dept will facilitate to sign the required form to be submitted. Looking forward to this small but significant contribution from all in our journey of nation building,” it said.

Lawyer speak
Bombay High Court Advocate Gayatri Singh said, “This is bad in law. Just by putting the word voluntary, it doesn’t become voluntary, especially when the company is sending the forms (for opting out of LPG subsidy).

It is like providing the facility of VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme), but also adding a line that if you don't take VRS, you will have no work. Asking someone to do something that is not associated with work, and is personal in nature, is also wrong.”

Advocate Y P Singh said, “It is nothing but putting undue pressure. It may not be illegal, but it is inappropriate and undesirable.” Advocate Manthan Bhatt, who practices in the Gujarat and Bombay High Courts, said, “Normally, a corporate will take such decisions for its own good and to be seen in a favourable light by the government. But then, it shouldn’t force it on employees. If it does, it will be against the constitution.”

'Opting out voluntary'
A detailed mail to the Adani Group, seeking a response to allegations of employees feeling pressured to sign the form, remained unanswered. The email contained queries on whether the move was only for particular classes of employees or for everyone, and whether all this was being done by Gautam Adani as he is considered close to the PM.

A source close to the company, however, said that opting out was voluntary and the HR department would collate the details of all those who had opted out by Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary opt-out, not a forced one. Whoever claims they are being forced should not fill out any forms. This is not being done to get into anyone’s good books,” said the source.

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7 Comments

  • ajay tiwari09-Apr-2015

    it's good move, but let me suggest some point, can Mr Adani talk to PM to announce that whether he can consider the total amount of Gas Cylinder to be tax exempted on yearly basis. as people are getting tax exemption on charitable amount so they should be given something in return. and for Mr. Adani, can he consider the same thing with his employee when it comes to salary hike or bonus as he quoted " Charity begins at Home".. Come o Mr Adani..lets do it now, we all including industrialist...

  • SHANTI10-Apr-2015

    Mr PM and Mr Adani what are all of u doing .Yourself enjoing all facilities and asking we middle to give up subsidy . We anyhow manage just to live a simple life .Why do u spend so much on ur clothes and lead a luxurios life?Why don't u donate that money to the poor and yourself lead a simple life. It is very difficult for u .U want to live like a king and want us to be ragged

  • ANUP10-Apr-2015

    You allowed Mr. NaMo to travel extensively on your plane during election campaign and now you want us to give up little subsidy that we deserve. What is your interest ? Read all comments with full attention. Apply some sense before you talk next time.

  • Dilip09-Apr-2015

    Well said Mr. Adani. Could you please ask our parliamentarians to please opt out of the subsidy they enjoy in parliament canteen, leave aside other subsidies. Poor labourers, farmers are living at pittance, while these people are living on their meal at subsidized rate. What a shame.

  • N Ramesh09-Apr-2015

    Mr. Gautham Adani, if you are really good friend of PM Modi, sanction full LPG amount as special grants from your firm to the workers and them ask them to sign the forms. It will service both purpose. What about taking lead.

  • Capt Vylal Prema Mohan (Rtd)10-Apr-2015

    I have a suggestion about surrender of Gas subsidy. It is very true that even the Ministers at Centre and state and MPS,MLAs and highly paid Government employees are receiving the subsidy credited in their bank account.Firstly the Government should ask their own people to surrender their subsidy being the Law makers and to become an example.alternatively government should fix an amount of salary or pension and those are getting more than that the subsidy should not be paid order should issue.

  • Suresh10-Apr-2015

    Mr Adani, what on earth make u think that, we all common men must give up a bit of benefits that we enjoy....will the 1000s of politicians, MPs MLAs give up the 100 of benefits that they enjoy.....what about various scams that has made India poorer by billions of Rs.....why are u not asking Vijay Mallay to pay up the crores of taxes and dues that is OS, he's not paid the OMCs that gave him free fuel to his KFA....can we common men get free petrol or diesel in a pump ?

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