Baba Ramdev wants employees to work for free: A former CEO reveals the Patanjali story

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved believes its employees are doing a 'seva' and can work without being paid said SK Patra in an interview to the Mint.

Published: 04th August 2017 06:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2017 07:02 PM   |  A+A-

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev  (AP File Photo)

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev (AP File Photo)

By Online Desk

For a company that claims to have a turnover of Rs 10,500 crores, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved however believes its employees are doing a 'seva' (voluntary service) and can work without being paid, a former CEO of the company, SK Patra, told The Mint daily in an exclusive interview.
"Patanjali pay very little to the people who work for them. Babaji (Baba Ramdev) calls it ‘seva’. For instance, I was doing two jobs there—at Patanjali Ayurved and Patanjali Food Park. They had promised to pay for both. But he would announce to everyone that 'Patraji has come to do seva. Right now he is drawing salary, but soon, he won’t even take that…'," he was quoted as saying.

Patanjali Ayurved even on its official website claims to be "In the service of mankind" by doing 'seva'.

Patra, an Indian Institute of Technology and and Indian Institute of Management graduate, used to argue with Baba Ramdev to even get his promised salary.

"I used to respond, “No, I want my money.”... I said I don’t need it for myself. I have a family. I need money for my family, to support them and my relatives. Then Babaji relented and gave me a salary for one of the two jobs that I was performing. But basically his argument was—I have to offer free seva to his host of companies," he was quoted as saying by the Mint.

With Patra as the chief executive officer of Patanjali Ayurved Limited and president of Patanjali Food Park from 2011 to 2014, the company’s sales leaped from Rs 317 crore to Rs 2,500 crore, according to the report. Baba Ramdev, in fact, told the media recently that Patanjali Ayurved aims to reach a target revenue of over Rs 20,000 crore by 2018.

However, he was quoted as pointing out that "the company does not care very much about profits" and that "Babaji only wants to sell".

In the interview, Patra revealed how he was able to make Patanjali Ayurved grow rapidly, giving much credit to Baba Ramdev. He was quoted as saying, "Baba Ramdev largely drives the company. He is involved in all the most important decisions—what to make, how much to make, when to make, how much to sell for. He personally tries out every single product and approves it."

In the interview with Mint, Patra recalled being amazed at Baba Ramdev's "imaginative style of doing business", alluding to a barter deal he made with a newspaper company for advertisements.

"At that time he used to think advertising is a waste of money. I had to fight hard for even a small budget of Rs 20 crore with him. But when he understood that I really believed in the importance of advertising, he went and struck his own kind of deal—a sort of ‘barter’ where he gave chyawanprash worth Rs 2 crore to a media house owner in exchange for Rs 4 crore of advertising in their newspaper!" Patra revealed during the interview.

He also elaborated on the innovative distribution network set up by him and Ramdev, especially putting to work the volunteers whose morale was low after the failed anti-corruption movement in 2011. "I took the volunteers of the Bharat Swabhiman Andolan (Ramdev’s anti-graft campaigners), who had sort of lost purpose after the political debacle. Baba infused them with a new cause to rally around—promoting swadeshi products. He put them on salaries and sent them around the country to the small mom-and-pop stores that would offer Patanjali products on an exclusive shelf in their stores," Patra was quoted as saying.


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  • vinay bajaj

    i want to work for patanjali and stay at patanjali
    2 years ago reply
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