Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy today said that it is important to reduce “friction” in business and create an “environment” wherein the government has more trust in its entrepreneurs.
Murthry further said that two factors were essential for transforming the economy – a daring younger generation and India’s integration with global economy.
“We still have a little bit of work in reducing friction to businesses. We need to create an environment where the government has more trust in its entrepreneurs than it is today,” Murthy, 70, told students of the prestigious Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Murthy, the recipient of the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation medal in Global Innovation, was responding to Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley who asked, “what do you think needs to happen next to transform India’s economy. What is next”.
“We want our youngsters to be a little bit more daring in taking the entrepreneurial route more and more than the extent to which they do today. We have to become much more integrated to the world economy so that we can consider the entire world as our market and can become globally competitive.
“And most importantly we can become much more open minded to learn from the wonderful things that are happening in this country and elsewhere. I would say these are required (for transforming India’s economy to the next level),” Murthy said.
He, however, refrained from elaborating what the Indian government needs to do to create the environment of trust in its entrepreneurs and said, “I will tell you why, as an Indian citizen, it may not be proper if I were to be critical about India when I am outside India”.
Interacting with students, he said, challenges for entrepreneurs are now different than the time when he started Infosys. Those days access to capital was almost non-existent and government was a big irritant.
“Today, challenges are different. But in some sense even more complex, because today’s entrepreneurs have to be much more smarter than what we were because there is so much of competition on a global scale. Before you can say this can be done, somebody else may have already done it.
“Therefore, today’s entrepreneurs would have to be much more nimble, global, competitive because market is truly determinant for success today unlike our time when managing government was a big determinant in India,” he said. Murthy said good governance is all about maximising shareholders’ value while ensuring fairness, transparency and accountability to all stake holders. Of all the stakeholders, society is the most important player.
“Respect from the society is the most important ingredient for longevity of a corporation,” he said. “To be honoured by the most innovative country in the world and to be awarded a medal in the name of Thomas Jefferson, author of Declaration of Independence is to me a big honour. I will certainly work hard, and hopefully smart in the remaining years of my life, to deserve this kindness, this generosity and this affection on their part,” he told PTI.
The fact that the university has seen it fit to pick up somebody from India, and bestow this honour shows how open this country is and how generous they are, Murthy said.
“Therefore this is a clear example of how Indian students wherever they are whether in India or here or anywhere else can be sure that as long as they are good citizens of this world, contribute to make the society a better place through peaceful and harmonious methods, they will be recognised, appreciated,” he said.
Murthy said that Indian students are making a positive impact in the countries they are studying. “I have not come across a single person of Indian-origin who has conducted himself or herself in a manner that has brought sorrow to the society they are living in, anywhere, wherever in the world. So I think that is the right way.
“I am very very proud of our Indian students. They are smart, have very good values and are very peaceful. They contribute to the society in a very significant way wherever they are. I just want them to continue to do this,” the Infosys founder said.
“The one important principle that Indian students should remember in everything they do is will this make India a more respected place, a more respected nation? Will this action of mine make me a better part of this community? Will this action deserve appreciation and affection from other members in this community? If they remember these then they will do everything possible,” Murthy added.
(With PTI inputs)