Thursday, December 29, 2005

Politicians must take responsibility for city's woes

Murthy takes politicians to task
`They must take responsibility for Bangalore problems`
Business Standard

Chairman and chief mentor of Infosys Technologies N R Narayana Murthy, on Wednesday, launched a scathing attack on the Indian political system. He also lashed out at a section of the politicians who blamed the IT industry for the infrastructure woes of Bangalore.

“Politicians must learn to respect those who create jobs,” Murthy said at the valedictory of the second international alumni meet of National Institute of Technology, Warangal here in Bangalore. He added for good measure: “There is no point in blaming the IT industry for the city’s woes.” It is the politicians’ responsibility to plan the city better because “they have sought power, they have sought seats”.

Murthy added: “Just as I will be held responsible if Infosys did not do well, the politicians must take responsibility if the city did not do well, state did not do well, country did not do well”.

Earlier this year, a section of the IT industry led in highlighting the city’s woes, particularly its traffic situation, creating a spat with the coalition government.

After a presentation by Murthy to former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on how the city can be run better, the latter targetted Infosys, levelling land-grabbing allegations against the company, which flatly denied the charge.

Murthy in fact criticised the entire political class, saying there is a strong incentive for politicians to keep people ignorant and illiterate. He added: “Our institutions, from our Parliament and legislatures to our courts and distribution systems, have become pervaded with corruption.”

He said that corruption in India has become the norm and Indians had spent over Rs 21,000 crore in bribes and illegal payouts in 2004, close to 1 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“There is a strong incentive for our politicians to maintain the status quo ? where the government is not accountable to the public on the most basic issues.”

Citing an example, he said India’s private radio stations are only allowed to broadcast entertainment, and not news and information.

“There is absolutely no reason for this restriction. Only reason is they (politicians) do not want the poor to know what’s happening in the country,” he stressed.

He pointed out that radio is a low-cost medium with the highest penetration in India. It reaches 27 of every 100 households in the country and it is easily accessible to the poor.

Stating that India’s political and economic systems today are plagued with problems and inefficiencies, Murthy said elections in the country are determined on the basis of caste and religion, rather than the real-life issues and concerns of the people. He added: “India has the highest percentage of reservation in the world, it is the only country where merit has been relegated to second place.”

Though India has made progress in science and technology and nuclear technology, a majority of Indians remain captive to poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. “As a country, India has achieved political freedom but we lack economic freedom.”

India has failed in its most urgent goals enabling universal access to the basic needs like food, shelter, healthcare and education. India lacks moral and political will, according to him.

“The chasm between the haves and have-nots in our country is increasing,” Murthy added.


At Thursday, December 29, 2005 at 8:59:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy NRN is slowly getting into politics. Why dont he just announce association with a political party and fight the system?


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