India Inc Against Corruption: nice thoughts but...

As frustrated as corporate India is about corruption, it will get nowhere unless it stops playing the victim and acknowledges its role in skewing the economic growth to enrich the rich further and impoverish the poor even more

bvrao

BV Rao | November 8, 2012


Godrej Industries chairman Adi Godrej at the WEF on Wednesday
Godrej Industries chairman Adi Godrej at the WEF on Wednesday

Corporate India has raised its voice against corruption again, this time at the World Economic Forum (WEF) conference now on at Gurgaon. The shared wisdom at this high table of world economic dialogue was that corruption chokes growth.

Adi Godrej, chairman of Godrej Industries and head of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), reflected the mood of corporate India as reported in The Economic Times this morning. "Tackling corruption is key to GDP growth. If we reduce corruption by 50% GDP growth will go up by 1%."
The same paper quoted leading corporate lawyer Zia Mody as saying that the recent reforms zeal of the UPA government to bring in FDI in multi-brand retail would not amount to much in the face of large-scale corruption. "What's the point of opening up FDI in multi-brand retail if, at the state level, there's corruption and the policies cannot be implemented in a transparent way," ET quoted Mody as saying.

We can understand why Godrej and Mody's sentiments would have resonated well with the rest of corporate India. The big scams are getting bigger and even top political leaders and political families are looking rather small as it becomes clear that they will go to any lengths to enhance their riches and those of their family. It does seem like there is nothing a business or corporate house can do without greasing palms.

So it is not difficult to empathise with corporate India and feel its frustration that corruption is stopping our growth. But it is impossible to comprehend why corporate India thinks of itself as just the victim of corruption. Or how it closes it eyes to the fact that the thousands of crores of money lost to the exchequer are not going into the bank accounts of politicians but enriching their companies and themselves just as much or even more. Or how corporate India tends to forget that behind every corrupt politician there is a greedy moneybag.

It would have been nice to hear one corporate honcho asking their fellow-travellers to look within and talk about how a few of them are tarnishing the image of the corporations and why crooks within their ranks must be jailed, tried and convicted as quickly as Rajat Gupta was put away by the US law enforcement agencies. When comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai, their chief tormentor of the government for the last few years, was saying that the transparency laws must apply to private corporations too, I would have liked to hear that at least some of them supported his views rather than squirm uncomfortably in their seats (yes, that's just a guess).

More than anything else, I would have loved one, just one, of the honchos to talk about why the biggest of their big brothers, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries should set the example by agreeing to allow a perfectly legitimate audit by the CAG of his KG D6 oil well because there are very valid doubts raised by a very honest minister (S Jaipal Reddy) on whether billions of public money have been put to good use.

As frustrated as corporate India is about corruption, it will get nowhere unless it stops playing the victim and acknowledges its role in skewing the economic growth to enrich the rich further and impoverish the poor even more.

Comments

 

Other News

Charming tales of the Snakeman’s early years

Snakes, Drugs and Rock ’N’ Roll: My Early Years By Romulus Whitaker with Janaki Lenin HarperCollins, 400 pages, Rs 699

Gripping graphic narrative helps make sense of pandemics past

The Moral Contagion By Julia Hauser and Sarnath Banerjee HarperCollins, 140 pages, Rs 699 The world has lar

“Globally, there is unprecedented positivity for India”

Addressing the Viksit Bharat Viksit Uttar Pradesh program in Lucknow on Monday, prime minister Narendra Modi launched 14,000 projects across the state, worth more than Rs 10 lakh crore at the fourth groundbreaking ceremony of UP Global Investors Summit held in February 2023. The projects relate to sectors

World’s biggest bird-a-thon begins in India

During the four days from Feb 16, more than a thousand birdwatchers throughout India are coming together with the goal of documenting as many birds as possible across the country’s diverse locations. Over one lakh birdwatchers globally participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Coun

Comments sought on Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advt in Coaching Sector

The Central Consumer Protection Authority has sought public comments on the ‘Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisement in Coaching Sector’. The draft guidelines are placed on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs and are accessible through the link:

Electoral bond scheme unconstitutional: Supreme Court

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has held the anonymous, unregulated and unlimited funding through electoral bonds and companies as unconstitutional. The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court comprising chief justice DY Chandrachud and justices Sanjiv Khanna, B

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter