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Cultural Transformation Is The Key To All Economic Transformation In India; Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys limited

Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Limited shared his life experiences and challenges that he faced to reach the pinnacle of his career.

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The tech wizard Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Limited, one of modern India's greatest entrepreneurs of his times, shared deep insights from his life from lows to highs fighting all the challenges to reach the pinnacle of his career.  

Murthy's story from initial failures to forming Infosys, one of the largest IT companies in the country, has everything to take inspiration from. Here are some excerpts from his chat with Harish Mehta, Founding President, Tie Mumbai at the Tie CON Mumbai 2019 writes Priyaanka Mathur.

Harish Mehta to Murthy: What would be your priority if you become the prime minister of India and how practical is Prime Minister Modi's dream of making India a 10 Trillion dollar economy by 2030? 

Narayana Murthy gives his idea of being a leader, "No economic transformation can take place unless there is a cultural transformation and this cultural transformation includes initial elements like hard work, discipline, honesty, courtesy, putting the interest of common people first, these are the things which are extremely important, that are critical points to be followed. However, in India, since we are in the initial part of our journey, the cultural transformation, needs to be followed in all spheres right from leadership by itself be it politics, diplomacy, bureaucracy, leadership in the corporate world, civil society as well as in academia. I think in all these aspects Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest leader who walked the talk and led the nation by his example." 

Adding to his point Murthy said, "Secondly, we have to enhance the contribution of exports to our economy because no country can have sustainable development without it. Today it is 16-17% which needs to improve. Thirdly, India has to focus on improving the quality of education and hence entrepreneurs and investors need to come ahead to invest in education. Fourthly, we have to reduce friction to businesses if this country needs to create jobs. I think if we combine all these and compound the growth rate of 12% which appears extremely impossible otherwise, we can achieve PM Modi's vision for 2030."

Mehta brought light to the days when the CEOs of all the MNCs like Infosys, IBM, Accenture came together to discuss industry issues keeping India first, and how Murthy contributed to represent the industry to the government to allow having 100% back office operations for multinationals in India. 

Elaborating further Murthy said, "There were lots of people who had a long-term vision and discussed that if we can't compete with multinational companies in our own backdrop how can we compete in US, UK or Europian soils. So, our belief was to take it as a great opportunity to compete with multinationals, who could teach us so many things, and by learning from them on our own land, we would beat them in their own game, that was the principal and that helped us. Perhaps NASSCOM is the only industry where out of top 5 companies, top 4 companies are Indian companies and that's something all of us have to keep in mind." 

So what has been the business model of Infosys especially in changing the face of India by the practices that the company followed and what message would a veteran give to the startup entrepreneurs? 

Murthy said, "Today, entrepreneurs are luckier as they see intense competition both in India and outside, that actually makes you stronger and fitter. The problems that we faced were like there was no current account convertibility, licencing issues to buy computers, no telephone connections and it took 7 years to have one, moreover, we had no internet. 

Throwing light on the challenges that today's entrepreneurs face Murthy said, Today, the first challenge is how to innovate to compete in the market and succeed, which is tougher. The second challenge is access to talent. The challenge is how to train the employees in your companies by investing small amounts on their training. But, I must say today's entrepreneurs are better warriors than we were." 

Talking on the investment scenario in India Murthy said, "Capital investment from Indian investors is only 10-12% since our Indian entrepreneurs and investors are not investing in the country. This is somehow very unhealthy for the country as our policies are not encouraging and attractive to invest in venture capital. 

We need a level playing field since its easier for foreign investors as compared to Indian investors to invest in India. Infact, we have proposed to the government to make it easier for Indian investors to invest in India.That will bring a higher percentage of funding to the country and will add more value, that money can remain in India and once you invest and get gains you are hooked to the game and you invest more. That will in turn help the country."

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