Sagarika Ghose spins an optimistic interview by Narayana Murthy into an anti-gov concern
Recently (16th February, 2016), Times Of India carried an interview of Infosys founder Mr.Narayana Murthy (NM). The title was, “Governments have a controlling mindset. Ease of doing business has not improved: Narayana Murthy”. After reading the contents, I was wondering how she arrived at this title. If you go through the interview, you will find that a passing comment which was made while mentioning that many reforms are taking place was and more need to be done.
Sagarika Ghose starts with: With the exciting discovery of gravitational waves do Indian scientists need to be encouraged to do this kind of world class research?
She probably asked this to Narayana Murthy because he is a technocrat and so it is good to begin with a Science & Technology slanted question. Fair enough. But I doubt if she is sincere enough to have a discussion on Gravitational waves if Murthy happens to deep-dive into it. With her educational background in History, and her occupational background as a “paid media agent”, she would have hardly had any time to understand gravity (oh, that apple falling back stuff…..), if not gravitational wave. Coming to her question, it sounds naïve, though the no-brainer answer is “yes, of course”. Murthy’s answer is as expected, crisp and to the point, but that would have hardly satisfied Sagarika because he did not say anything that implicates Namo as harmful to science in India.
Moving on, couple of questions later, she poses this: Does it worry you that Start Up India, Make in India, Digital India at the moment are slogans and not yet realities? Look at the tone. She wants some agreement from Narayana Murthy so that she can give a title, “Start Up India, Make in India, Digital India are not realities: Narayana Murthy”. In fact, the previous question and answer do not lead to this question. So it is not a naturally flowing interaction. Murthy responds by rightly saying that slogans cannot be dismissed. He also praised that these various initiatives are all very good ideas. However, this didn’t lead to the title: “Government’s initiatives Start Up India, Make in India, Digital India, are all very good ideas: Narayana Murthy”. Sagarika’s agenda is different and it is to discredit BJP Govt. Murthy clearly states that it is not easy to translate dreams into reality and it needs lots of hardwork from all concerned. He talks about issues with our political structure of centre and state and the key role of states to bring about reforms. Sagarika would not have liked this one from Murthy where he says, “there is an air of wanting to do things in Delhi”, which itself could have been made as the title. He appreciates the tax and labor laws exemption announcement.
Once Sagarika senses that Murthy is praising more of Modi Government, she quickly diverts to ask about the reforms in 1991 by Manmohan Singh. Nobody has denied Manmohan’s reforms and PVN’s leadership at that time and even most of the current BJP leaders would readily acknowledge that. All previous Govts were doing so badly that whatever little reform PVN / Manmohan pair did can only be good and cannot be otherwise; the country was in such a bad shape.
Then Murthy talks about the scope of further improvements which he think are needed, like the need of reducing Govt. control which has been in place for decades of Congress rule. He brings up the case of relaxing FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulations Rules). In fact, Modi Govt has made the entire approval process online in a bid to improve transparency and relaxed several of the procedural steps involved. How much more to relax is debatable. At that very moment, the opportunistic Sagarika creates a small window to ask, “So the ease of doing business has not improved?” and then decides to use this as the title. In fact, many can argue that Murthy’s views on FCRA relaxation are not entirely acceptable in view of the way certain NGOs act in India. But that is another topic. There are many rules in India which need to be reformed (either relaxed or tightened) and if at all, those are legacies of decades of mis-governance by the Congress, and it will take time for this Government to turn it around. It is still a work in progress.
After she managed to squeeze a title out of nothing, she just poses some more questions which all received balanced views of NM. In total, NM was very balanced in his answers, never really said, “Ease of business has not improved”. He only wants more. While things will improve gradually, the biggest curse of India now is the Sagarika, Rajdeep like press. This wife / husband duo is trying to inflict enormous damage to the country, twisting information in the way they want. Hope better sense prevails in the public at large.