An opportunity to clean system of corruption: Biz leaders

Industry body Assocham called for "bold and concrete steps" to ensure "effective, transparent and accountable" governance. Assocham also supported creation of accountable institutions along the lines of Election Commission, its President Dilip Modi said.

S P Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group Worldwide gave specific suggestions for eradication of corruption, including legalising contributions by individuals and businesses to political parties and bringing funds held offshore into the accounting system by imposing a one-time tax of 15-30 per cent as was done by the US and other countries.

Hinduja also called for introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in order to urgently streamline transactions and bring greater transparency to them.

Other measures suggested by him include reducing the large number of permissions required for new projects and awarding mega projects to businesses on condition of building social infrastructure in education healthcare and water supply.

Efforts must be taken up to break the unholy nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen that has created an entire parallel economy to corner the benefits of rapid growth, he said.

Corruption, he said, is now seriously affecting governance in India with consequences for its social cohesion, inclusive economic growth, inflows of foreign investment and even internal security.

Making his stand clear in favour of a strong Lokpal Bill, Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej also suggested reducing the number of government permissions required could help curb corruption.

"I feel the best way to tackle corruption is to drastically reduce issues on which government permissions or discretionary decisions are required and make all government sales and purchases of assets, goods and services by a transparent auction," Godrej said.

While most of the corporate leaders stayed away from making direct comments on the ongoing issue, top industrialists like UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya, Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-Chairman and MD Anand Mahindra and Biocon's CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw have been expressing their views through social media like twitter.

"I support Team Anna's movement against corruption which must b (sic) eradicated. But this takes time n (sic) patience n (sic) a careful approach. Not this," Mallya tweeted.

"If Team Anna does not trust Parliament n (sic) its elected representatives, do we need general elections to re- elect acceptable representatives," Mallya questioned.

"Appeal by the PM, opp (sic) leader and speaker is unprecedented and signals respect for public anguish. It should not be dismissed lightly, or go unheeded," Mahindra tweeted on August 25.

Compromise is not always a bad word. It's part of the DNA of democracy, he had said.
Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) President Ranjit Shahani said due deliberations must take place before deciding on a final mode to tackle corruption.

"We have had a very strong parliamentary system for 64 years and it should have due deliberations and all the bills should go the standing committee and it will consider good points of all bills. As something of such great importance should not be rushed through," he said.

Assocham's Modi said: "Given India's emerging role as a global leader, it is imperative that we take bold and concrete steps to ensure effective, transparent and accountable governance".

He further said, whether it was the Lok Pal Bill or any other institutional arrangement, it must be ensured that power does not accumulate in the same hands and the balance of power envisaged in the Constitution is respected.

Hinduja suggested confiscating black money generated by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats or through criminal activities as one of the steps to tackle the black money issue.

He also highlighted the need for creating a large number of small feeder infrastructure projects for implementation in the semi-urban and rural sector to create investment and employment at grassroots level that can help in reducing rural migration to city slums.

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