You are on page 1of 4

c  

 
 
 


c  


  c


New Delhi, December14, 2010

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, participated in the
inaugural ceremony of India Corporate Week 2010 and released Investors·
Education Website in Hindi and Eleven Regional Languages. Following is the
text of the Prime Minister·s address:
´It gives me immense pleasure to participate in the inaugural function of
India Corporate Week 2010. This is a commendable effort which brings
together the government, the corporate sector and professionals to deliberate
upon issues of great importance.
The first India Corporate Week was celebrated last December on the
theme ´Corporate Sector and Inclusive Growthµ. I note with satisfaction that
the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has taken many important initiatives in the
year that has since gone by. A particularly significant initiative addresses the
critical aspect of investor awareness through over 3200 investor education
programmes. I compliment my colleague, Shri Salman Khurshid, the Minister
of Corporate Affairs and his team for these efforts.
The theme of this year·s India Corporate Week is ´Sustainable
Businessµ. I am told that as part of its celebrations, over 400 programmes are
planned across the country, highlighting corporate governance, corporate
social responsibility, and ethical business. There will be special focus on
´corporate growth with enlightened regulationsµ and ´corporate sector and
inclusive growthµ. These areas reflect the importance that our government and
our society gives to making our growth processes inclusive and simultaneously
encourage the spirit of adventure and enterprise.
India has always been a nation of entrepreneurs. Today it is a nation of
world class professionals as well. Indian companies are strategically increasing
their presence overseas and their presence is being felt all over the world.
Indeed we are witnessing the emergence of the Indian multi-national on the
global corporate stage. The private sector now contributes significantly to all
sectors of our economy, including infrastructure development, which until
recently was an exclusive preserve of the public sector until a few years ago. In
recent years, the private sector is also successfully engaged with the
government in PPP projects. India·s corporate sector is poised to become the
main engine of growth for the Indian economy. The responsibility it carries is,
therefore, truly enormous.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has a mandate to provide an enabling
regulatory framework to facilitate the corporate sector to function productively
and responsibly, and broadly in line with our national aspirations. I am happy
that the Ministry has, in a short period initiated many projects to fulfil this
mandate. The streamlining of corporate registration under the MCA21 e-
governance scheme has increased convenience as well as added to the spirit of
transparency for the investor and provided end-to-end services to the corporate
sector. The Competition Commission is engaged in enhancing competition in
the market place. The updation of Company Law, the introduction of limited
liability partnerships under a new law, efforts to converge with International
Financial Reporting Standards, and widespread investor education are all
creative and worthwhile initiatives. The Voluntary Guidelines issued by the
Ministry on Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility have
evoked interest I have been told internationally.

Let me also take this opportunity to reaffirm our Government's


commitment to providing an enabling environment conducive to the growth of
the corporate sector in our country. We wish to provide a level playing field for
private businesses, free from fear or favour. I am aware of the nervousness in
some sections of the corporate sector arising out of the powers conferred upon
Governmental authorities to tap phones for protecting national security and
preventing tax evasion and money laundering. While these powers are needed
in the world that we live in, they have to be exercised with utmost care and
under well defined rules, procedures and mechanisms so that they are not
misused. We must also look for solutions through technology to prevent access
of telephone conversation to systems outside the institutional framework of
government. Legal mechanisms already exist and they are in place. They need
to be strengthened for more effective enforcement. I am asking the Cabinet
Secretary to look into these issues and report back to the Cabinet within the
next one month.
Businesses, by their very definition, need to be profitable. But the
manner in which they use natural resources and the extent to which they are
sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the common man is also critical to
their own long-term survival and growth. Sustainability of business therefore
includes not merely economic sustainability in the narrow sense of the term
but social and environmental sustainability as well. Indeed, financial capital
needs human, social and ecological capital to be viable in the long term sense
of the term. Market activity that concentrates wealth without empowering the
poor and the deprived is also unacceptable ethically. I am sure our business
leaders are aware that business practices of some corporate houses have
recently come under intense public scrutiny for their perceived ethical deficit.
I am happy that the corporate sector has responded positively to the
challenge of sustainability and some of the Indian models of integrating
sustainability in core business processes are being showcased as the best in
the world. Many Indian companies have started reporting their actions for
ensuring sustainability. An increasing number of companies are today
bringing out sustainability reports.
There are very welcome signs of the Corporate sector·s increasing
engagement with India·s hinterland economy, where the majority of our people
live. This has consolidated linkages between the rural and urban sectors of our
economy, between agriculture and manufacturing, and between regions. Most
significantly, the bonds between large companies and small and medium
enterprises, cooperatives, and new entrepreneurs are growing. I understand
many companies are coming out with innovative business models that engage
farmers in rural India as entrepreneurs. All this strengthens our nations
efforts for making our growth more inclusive ² a growth that benefits all regions
and all sections of our society, particularly the poor and the under-privileged.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some ways in which you
can ensure sustainability through your corporate strategies.
First, increasing the employability of our population through effective
skill development must be central to corporate strategy and not merely an
afterthought resulting from difficulties in recruitment. This can also help
integrate the weaker sections of our society into the mainstream economy even
as industry is assured of ready to go well trained personnel. While the
government has a vital role to play in the field of education and training, it
cannot deliver alone. Corporate India has to be an active partner in our efforts.
I am very happy that several corporate leaders have already recognized the
value of capacity building and skill development and are working with the
Government through ongoing schemes and the National Skill Development
Corporation. Some industry associations have offered to partner in improving
our ITIs and developing skills of youth, particularly those who are poor and
marginalized. But such efforts have not reached a scale that could have a
visible impact on production processes in our country.
Second, resettlement and rehabilitation of project affected families and
ensuring that there is no adverse impact on livelihoods due to environmental
degradation are major issues to be addressed by our corporate enterprises.
Our growth processes must not suffer because of loss of confidence in
industrialization and development. We need policies and interventions that
would minimize livelihood disruptions. Affected populations must see a stake
for themselves in transiting to alternative lifestyles. Long term benefits to them
must outweigh the immediate costs they may have to bear. Companies must
also adopt environmentally friendly measures and avoid taking shortcuts that
adversely impact livelihoods and worsen the quality of living of the affected
local populace. We have many examples of success in the areas of
management of waste, conservation of habitats and energy efficiency. These
must be adequately disseminated and encouraged.
Finally, ethical and responsible behavior needs to become the
cornerstone of corporate behaviour, as indeed our national outlook. Ethics
encompass a wide sphere of actions, economic, social and human, involving
the consumer, labour, society at large and the government. Mahatma Gandhi
repeatedly used to emphasise the importance of not only good ends but also of
the use of fair means to attain them. It is the large companies that have to set
the pace in this regard. The rest of the corporate sector will quickly follow as
this becomes a national norm.
Our Corporate culture must be attuned to the universally accepted
values of good governance ² accountability, transparency, responsibility and
responsiveness to stake holders. Our corporate endeavours have to be
consonant with the demands of our eco system and the expectations of Indian
democracy. The economic reforms of the last two decades have opened up
many new opportunities. But just as over bearing controls stifle initiative;
dogmatic adherence to extreme models of non-regulation can also be disruptive
to sustainable growth. Ours is the middle path. We believe we must trust
Corporate India as indeed you must trust us.
Modern day concepts like Corporate Social Responsibility and
sustainable business are not borrowed from developed economies but have
been nurtured over the millennia by our rich ethical traditions. It is indeed,
now for us to add to the global repositories of evolving concepts by imprinting
India·s unique flavour on them. As India continues its journey towards
economic prosperity and growth. I am sure Corporate India will contribute to
our efforts to fulfil the dreams of the aam adami. Let us rededicate ourselves to
this national task today.
With these words, I wish you all of you success in your deliberations and
your endeavours. May your path be blessed.µ

*****