We've given 55,000 jobs to locals: NRN

Clearing the air

We've  given 55,000 jobs to locals: NRN

This is how Infosys chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy reacted to a question often raised by a section of Kannada protagonists: What’s the contribution of Infosys to Karnataka?
Murthy, who is considered the Bill Gates of Asia, has been in the news since the state government invited him to inaugurate the World Kannada Conference at Belgaum beginning March 11.

A handful of Kannada writers, including Bargur Ramachandrappa, have been questioning Murthy’s commitment and contribution to Kannada and Karnataka.  In an interaction with Deccan Herald on Tuesday, Murthy said that since the establishment of Infosys in 1981 the number of jobs generated by the company has been about 2.3 lakhs and the present strength is 1.3 lakhs. Of the total jobs created, 55,000 jobs have been provided to the people of Karnataka.

“Over the years, nearly a lakh people have moved on, which is good. Youngsters quit when they get better opportunities,” he said.

Referring to those who are questioning and criticising him as his “wonderful friends,” the IT czar said in 2010-11 as many as 4,079 students have been selected through campus interviews conducted across 199 colleges in Karnataka. The total recruitment in the year has been 25,798.

He said: “We are the only software company in the State which is operating from three cities of Karnataka—Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. The Mysore campus is the world’s largest education campus. We were the first software company in India to put up an office in Bangalore. This was done before it became fashionable for others to open offices here.”

Referring to the allegation that his company is evading tax, Murthy pointed out that Infosys is the highest tax paying company in the entire State. At times the Income Tax Department raises additional demand on the company, and this has been happening for many years due to varied interpretation of rules by officials.

The company pays the additional amount and fights for its recovery at the tax tribunal. “Ninety-nine per cent of the additional tax we have paid has come back to us with interest. The company has been refunded Rs 252 crore which was paid as additional tax.

I have a lot of respect for the department. It is normal to have differences in interpretation,” he said.

“Let this be on record. There is no other company which is paying  as much tax as we are. I am the only CEO in the history of this country who has argued several times that there should be no tax exemption for software export. No other CEO has argued the way I have done,” he said.

Asked how much the tax Infy has paid this year, he said till December 31 it has been
Rs 1,600 crore and it may touch Rs 2,100 crore to Rs 2,300 crore by the end of March.
To a question whether he is getting “targeted,” Murthy just said: “I  do not want to comment. But I do believe that we corporate leaders have the responsibility to stand up and speak. We must have discussion and debates which are based on facts and figures.” He said it is good that the country’s GDP is growing. “But if we have to see real progress, then we should see the poor also progress.”

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