At a gathering to celebrate 40 years of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the chairman and managing director of the company Shri Mukesh D. Ambani, while paying rich tribute to Dhirubhai Ambani, said that he learnt four important lessons from Dhirubhai: Courage, Feel Empathy, Absolute Faith in Technology and Talent and Dil Ka Rishta. Due to these learnings he could steer RIL successfully to the newer heights, he said.
Today, on 16th death anniversary of Dhirubhai, I remember how obsessed was he for state of the art technologies in the plants he set up. Dhirubhai’s vision had no limits. He used to keep himself updated about newer discoveries, researches and current trends in the sectors he operated. This is why he could think much ahead of his time.
After coming back to India from Aden, he tried his hand in trading of spices, yarn, etc and then forayed into manufacturing sector. He set up a Greenfield textile unit in Naroda, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. He didn’t have a slightest of doubt that the investment in technology could fail. He firmly believed that technology assured high quality products in shorter period of time and consistency in the quality was added benefit.
It’s because of Dhirubhai’s faith in technology, in 1975 Reliance Group’s Naroda Textile Unit was recognized as ‘the Most Modern Textile Complex of India’ by the World Bank. Ironically, it was a bad phase in history of Textile Sector in Ahmedabad, as the textile mills had begun pulling their shutters down due to one reason or another. In such adverse situation, the fabric manufactured using modern technology at Dhirubhai’s Naroda Unit became so acceptable and popular among masses that his textile brand ‘Vimal’ overnight became household name in India.
When Reliance set up its first refinery in Jamnagar, Dhirubhai had insisted on the use of the best and the latest technology available at that time. This is why RIL’s Jamnagar Refinery is one of the best refineries in the world with very high complexity index. Jamnagar Refinery and Petrochemical Complex boasts of the highest Nelson Complexity Index of 14. Not only this, RIL’s Jamnagar refinery can process all kinds of crude from sweet to sour or from light to heavy. Crude oil’s quality is measured taking into consideration its sweetness and sourness. Sweet oil is easy to process but it is costly. On the other hand, all the refineries, particularly old refineries, can’t process very heavy or sour crude oil. Moreover, Gross Refining Margins (GRM) achieved by RIL’s Jamnagar Refinery are not only the best in the country but even higher than Singapore Refining Margins. As Dhirubhai insisted on the latest and the best technology, Reliance refinery could cope up with the adverse market conditions due to geo-political tension in the world and has continued its upward journey.
Shri Mukesh D. Ambani is taking forward the legacy of Dhirubhai and has given prominence to technology driven operations in Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery and Petrochemical Complex. The world’s first and the largest Refinery Off Gas Cracker Complex (ROGC) set up by RIL at its Jamnagar Refinery and Petrochemical Complex signifies its immense faith in technology. Shri Mukesh D. Ambani termed ROGC a fitting tribute to Dhirubhai. It will enhance production volume and cost efficiency of the complex and increase profitability, which in turn will be beneficial to the shareholders.
What else than Reliance Jio, could be a glaring example of how Shri Mukesh D. Ambani carried forward the legacy of Dhirubhai’s attachment for technology? The credit for making 4G VOLTE technology very popular in India goes to Reliance Jio. The use of new technology created positive disruption in the telecom sector in India benefitting the billions of telecom users. In addition, it played a pivotal role in realizing Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ dream.
Whether textile or refinery, manufacturing or service sector, Dhirubhai always insisted on use of the state of the art technologies because benefit to the common man was at his heart. The citizens of India enjoy fruits of Dhirubhai’s immense faith in technology.
(Shri Parimal Nathwani is Group President of Corporate Affairs at Reliance Industries Ltd and Member of Rajya Sabha.)