Unsavoury questions on corruption await Indian CEOs in Davos

Unsavoury questions on corruption await Indian CEOs in Davos

"I don't think we can hide anywhere...There will be a lot of questions on governance, which will be asked (at Davos)," CII President Hari Bhartia said here. CII, which is a partner of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), has announced formation of a National Council on Moral Issues headed by noted industrialist Adi Godrej.

The council will deliberate on how companies should follow their own ethical behaviour and will suggest to the government ways to reduce personal interface for seeking project approvals from different authorities.

A group of prominent personalities, including industrialists Azim Premji and Deepak Parekh, yesterday 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".

In the five-day mega event beginning January 26, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Transport Minister Kamal Nath and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel along with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will participate.

India Inc, on its part, is going with the largest ever delegation of 125 CEOs, including the likes of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises Chief Sunil Bharti Mittal, SBI Chairman O P Bhatt and ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar.

Bhartia said questions regarding quality of governance in India are sure to come up at Davos. "But we will handle it honestly," he said. He said that the CII council on moral issue will also suggest to the government that all natural resource-based projects should be given environment clearances before bidding.