India’s leaders asked to follow Infosys founder’s example

May 12th, 2009 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

By Nirmala George
Singapore, May 12 (IANS) Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has exhorted Indian political leaders to follow the ideals cherished by Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy in order to set the country on a rapid trajectory of high growth and development.

Describing Narayana Murthy as an “exceptional” entrepreneur, Lee hailed his contribution to the phenomenal success of the information technology sector in India, extolling his humility, social awareness and simple living habits as qualities to be emulated.

“If all Indian ministers and top bureaucrats were like him - hard-working, tough taskmasters, hard negotiators, but always forward-looking - India will be one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and in one generation, will become a First World country,” Lee exhorted Monday.

Lee, the founder of modern Singapore and the man behind the city-state’s phenomenal success story, was speaking at the launch of Narayana Murthy’s recent book, “A Better India: A Better World,” at a function at the Global Indian International School campus here.

But well aware of the scale of the task ahead in India, Lee said “no single person can change India’s system of governance to become as efficient as Infosys.”

He also referred to the limitations in India’s political process, which he said stop it from “going at high speed.”

“Whatever the political leadership wants to do, it must go through a very complex system at the centre, and then an even more complex system in the various states,” he said.

Drawing from the experience he has gained in the IT industry over the past two decades, Narayana Murthy said that exemplary work ethics, honesty, discipline and an openness to new ideas were the key pillars to ensure that India’s emerging economy was “inclusive, fair and equitable.”

The book, a collection of speeches that Narayana Murthy has rendered over the past few years, outlines what he lists as critical ingredients for the nation’s development: ethical social values, honest trustworthy leaders and an open mindset.

The liberation of the “colonial mindset” by the elite and powerful in a post-colonial society had to be a fundamental requirement if the gains of economic growth were to be shared more equitably, he said.

He rated these three pillars of development as even more important than the traditional ingredients of capital, technology, labour and natural resources which have been viewed as the foundation for industrial wealth.

Narayana Murthy cited Singapore as the best example of the core values that he was advancing. “Singapore is a real example of a country that has transformed herself from a Third World to a First World country,” and “all in an environment of peace and harmony in a multicultural world.”

He attributed Singapore’s success to a “cadre of aspirational and value-based leadership which has led by example.”

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