February 15, 2007

Very few business leaders are brutally honest and candid about issues that directly affect their own companies. Mr. N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys is one such leader. In a breakfast encounter organized by Economic Times between Mr. Murthy and Mr. Azim Premji of Wipro, he virtually dropped a bomb when he said, "I find it funny that companies like Infosys, with profits exceeding Rs 3500 crores, do not pay tax in India." Assertions like this put him on a higher pedestal, way ahead of the current breed of business leaders. He further said, "We use government infastructure in terms of education, roads, housing, and all that. I don't think Infosys is paying taxes commensurate with the benefits we derive from the local environment." So candid! Hats off to this man.

Leaders like Murthy have a special role to play in the present and the future. There is a myth surrounding business, though not fully unjustified, that business exploits society and environment and doesn't give back what it takes from its surroundings. There is a palpable growing divide between business and society and the buzz about corporate social responsibility and such stuff sounds hollow to the common man. It is in these times that people like Narayana Murthy have to play a constructive role to bridge the divide and mistrust between business and society for a healthy cohabitation.

This would be particularly significant in coming years when, due to acute pressure on available natural resources, the growth of companies would get depended on how well they engage society and the environment in a win-win relationship. Global business environment is, perhaps, entering a new phase where business leaders will not only have to create a symbiotic relationship with society and environment but will also have to work on marketing the concept of ‘socially oriented capitalism’ to the masses to make sure that it gets ingrained in the mass consciousness that welfare of business, society, and environment is mutually interdependent.

We need thousands of Narayana Murthy to lead this imminent paradigm shift.


  1. Manish // February 16, 2007 at 9:15 AM  

    hi mayank...nice post.
    do you have the link to the original interview!
    lets catch up off-line whenever you have the time.