Monday, January 17, 2011

India Inc write to politicians over 'governance deficit'

A group of prominent personalities, including industrialists Azim Premji, Keshub Mahindra and Deepak Parekh, have expressed concern over a series of scams leading to "governance deficit". They asked the government to deal with burning issues like corruption urgently.

In an 'open letter' addressed to the leaders, they said: "We are alarmed at the widespread governance deficit almost in every sphere of national activity covering government, business and institutions. Widespread discretionary decision-making have been routinely subjected to extraneous influences.

Asking politicians to rise above party politics, the letter said "time is overdue for India's elected representatives to distinguish between dissent and disruption while the era of coalitions, tolerance of compromise still remains a challenge."

"Elected legislators and leaders must acknowledged and demonstrate their collective role and responsibility in restoring the sense of purpose and confidence in national institutions."

"The topmost responsibility of those at the helm of the nation's affairs must be to urgently restore the self-confidence and self-belief of Indians in themselves and in the State as well as in Indian business and public institutions which touch the lives of every Indian."

The signatories to the letter also include Jamshyd Godrej, Justice Sam Variava, Prof M Narasimham, Yezdi Malegam, Anu Aga, Dr A Vaidyanathan, Bimal Jalan, N Vaghul, Nachiket Mor, Justice B N Srikrishna and Dr Ashok Ganguly.

The letter comes against the backdrop of 2G, CWG and Adarsh scams, and also leakage of tapes involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's conversations with various personalities, including industrialist Ratan Tata, politicians and journalists.

Deepak Parekh had earlier echoed Tata in voicing concern over the leakage of the tapes stating such incidents were only generating negativity, which threatened to derail India’s growth story.

"In the last few months, the country has witnessed eruption of a number of egregious events. There are, at present, several loud and outraged voices, in the public domain, clamouring on these issues which have deeply hurt the nation," the letter said.

Amid all the scams, the letter further said, "The judiciary is a source of some reassurance but creation of genuinely independent and constitutionally constituted regulatory bodies, manned by persons who are judicially trained in the concerned field, would be one of the first and important steps to restore public confidence."

Terming corruption as "possibly, the biggest issue corroding the fabric of our nation" it said "this malaise needs to be tackled with a sense of urgency, determination and on a war footing".

"Dealing determinedly with governance and aggressively against corruption, while openly debating these issues by elected legislators is the only means left to reassure our citizens," it said.

Amongst several urgent steps needed, this is possibly the most critical one that the nation can immediately initiate in order to reassure its citizens that corruption will be most severely dealt with, both at the branch and at the root level, the letter added.

The letter further said the benefits of growth are not reaching the poor and marginalised sections adequately due to impediments to economic development.

"This is because of some critical issues like environmental concerns and differences in perspectives between central and state governments," it said.

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