Chairman Emeritus Infosys NR Narayana Murthy – File photo by AFP
Chairman Emeritus Infosys NR Narayana Murthy – File photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: One of India’s top businessmen has slammed the government over its economic policies, saying it is no longer possible to sell the “India story”.

Companies have long griped about India’s Byzantine rules and suffocating bureaucracy, but perceived inconsistency in government policy, stalled economic reforms and a spate of political scandals have soured the investment mood.

“The world expected a lot from us,” NR Narayana Murthy, chairman emeritus of Bangalore-based software giant Infosys, said in a televised interview Saturday.

“We have fallen far short of expectations and it’s no longer possible to sell the ‘India story’,” Murthy told ET NOW, referring to investor expectations that Asia’s third-largest economy would be a turbo-charged performer.

“I meet a lot of chief executives outside India and earlier India was mentioned once every three times China was mentioned. But now, if China is mentioned 30 times, India is not even mentioned once,” he said.

The attack by Murthy, who founded one of India’s largest software giants, on the Congress government of Premier Manmohan Singh was unusually outspoken for an Indian businessman.

“We have cut our own legs off by our inaction, by our policies,” Murthy said.

Data Friday showed India’s growth remained stuck at three-year lows of 5.5 per cent, a high figure by developed nations’ standards but far below the near double-digit growth of much of the past decade.

Murthy said that controversial anti-tax-avoidance rules proposed earlier this year that included a plan to tax takeovers retroactively had spooked foreign investors. The government is now reviewing the plans.

To “change the law on a retrospective basis is actually like taking a pistol and shooting ourselves”, he told India’s NDTV.

Overseas-investor confidence has tumbled with foreign direct investment for the quarter to June sliding year-on-year by 67 per cent to $4.43 billion.

India’s ability to attract foreign investment is crucial because it urgently needs funds to upgrade dilapidated airports, roads, ports and other infrastructure in order to ease bottlenecks and spur slowing economic growth.

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Comments (14)

September 11, 2012 9:06 pm
Indians often boast of their (flawed) democracy, but when push comes to shove, China's authoritarian technocrats deliver a better life to their people. Yes, the Chinese cannot vote, but in India, votes are bought anyway. But the Chinese are far wealthier, and China is zooming ahead.
September 2, 2012 1:35 am
Murthy is sick, he is worse than Greedy person. What has he done for community and it people
September 2, 2012 10:29 am
September 2, 2012 11:01 am
Ok, but let him first set things 'right' for his own company. This guy is often on TV, advising how to run government, but he hasn't been able run his own company well.
September 3, 2012 1:34 pm
He is doing community service by creating more jobs.
krishna prasad
September 4, 2012 10:03 am
I live abroad. I see scandals every day from India in news papers and it is a shame that politicians are deceptive in their vested arguments. Unless these politicians and beaurocrats have clear-cut policies like infosys has as part of their work ethics, it is not possible to bring "India" back to get its old "supposed glory" back. To make their party leaders happy, don't put indians and their money at stake.
Cyrus Howell
September 1, 2012 5:16 pm
We are missing something here. Corrupt officials in China receive the death penalty.
M. Asghar
September 1, 2012 4:03 pm
It is good to have foreign investments in the country within the laws but they cannot and must not be be allowed under any extortionistic conditions.
September 3, 2012 12:29 pm
I agree karan. After infosys, nrn thinks thak he is some kind of visionary who can fix every thing. Let him fix his company first which is showing negative growth for last one year.
September 3, 2012 10:15 am
sumthin about bollywood? eh!!
September 2, 2012 12:44 pm
LOL.... India story.. what story?
September 1, 2012 5:11 pm
We really require economic boost ......
Cyrus Howell
September 1, 2012 5:13 pm
Let Joseph Stalin run the bureaucrats for ten years and India will be back on track.
September 3, 2012 2:37 am
Rubbish. He started company from scratch and is still one of the most respected IT company of the world and the employees who they have trained are one of the best in the areas they are working. IT industry is in a slump. Look at it long term and his company is the envy of China and its Premier visited his HQ to learn first hand how to do things in the IT sector
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