'Hostility to business leaders may sap confidence'

'Hostility to business leaders may sap confidence'

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh. PTI file photo

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday cautioned against creating a negative perception about business leaders saying it may sap their confidence and also create doubts in foreign governments.

Singh's remarks have come in the wake of central investigation agencies probing top business leaders including former ICICI Bank boss Chanda Kochhar, Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot among others.

“Of late, many negative perceptions have been manufactured about business leaders; the business community, big and small, has been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies,” the former prime minister said at an awards function.

“A hostile narrative has been built; this will sap not only the confidence of our own business leaders but it will also create doubts in the mind of foreign governments and business leaders,” he said.

“Honest businessman and genuine entrepreneur must never be allowed to feel harassed by the petty revenue officials. Unfortunately, trust between the government and the business stands eroded,” Singh said.

Recalling the economic reforms of 1991, Singh said that it would not have been possible without the faith and ability of the Indian people to absorb change.

“It is vital to prepare all stakeholders for the coming change; because changes produce some disruption, some pain, and considerable discomfort. It becomes, then, the task of the statesman to take the citizens into confidence and explain to them the need for change. It is never easy to make citizens accept deprivation, even temporary,” the former prime minister said.