He started with a tiny software company with a capital of barely 200 euros.
Today Narayana Murthy’s chairman of Infosys is a major player in Asian business and a leader in Bangalore, India’s silicon valley.
Like other business chiefs, Murthy is also a major political player in his country, making his voice heard on trade, economy and even foreign policy issues.
EuroNews- Mr Murthy, with 98 per cent of its revenues generated outside India and almost 15 offices in the USA and other countries, Infosys is a huge reality of the new technological sector. Are you the new Bill Gates?
Murthy- No. I think it is not fair to Bill Gates because he is the world’s greatest entrepreneur and I’m a small person compared to him. However because I was the first person in India to create a large entrepreneurship in the new economy and a lot of people in the company made a lot of money, many people call me that.
EuroNews- Only the 5 per cent of Indians profit from this boom in information and communications technology.
Murthy- It is the software industry that demonstrated that being in India, you could develop world class products and services. That is the first value addition of my industry. The second is this industry has demonstrated that you can create a large number of jobs if you look at the global market, in fact that’s one of the requirement of the country. The third is it has demonstrated that you can run an organization legally and ethically in contemporary India and follow the finest priciples of corporate governance. Fourthly, because our people get good salaries, because they have good disposable income, they go and spend and stimulate the secondary and the tertiary sectors of the economy: they go to restaurants, they go to the theatre, they buy cars, they buy clothes… in other words they create jobs there
EuroNews- what do you expect from the next World Trade Organisation summit in Hong Kong.
Murthy- Well, I would expect the following: One, we will move from a free trade regime to a fair and free trade regime, That the US will reduce its subsidies on agriculture, Europe wil reduce its subsidies on agriculture. Second, countries like India, Brazil and South Africa will take a stand that will move this movement forward. I hope we will have a better services regime, that there will be an easier movement of people from countries like India to Western Europe, so that we can add value to the corporations here in sofware services.
EuroNews- So you definitely think that the biggest battlefield on the WTO round will be on services and not agriculture?
Murthy- Indian leaders will hop on agriculture because a vast majority of Indians are in agriculture. But India is also for allowing the free movement of people in the area of services. Both are important. If the ability to go from India to any of these countries can be instanteneous, can be friction free I think that will be a big step forward because then we can add more and more value to European corporations. The agricultural sector has suffered a lot, the growth rate in the agriculture sector has come down from 3 per cent to less than 2 per cent. The vast majority of Indians, 650 million people are in rural areas. They have less money to spend than they had earlier. So they are saying is this globalization? Is this opening up borders? Is this the WTO? So They are very, very upset.