Top industrialists have expressed concern over the impact that worsening corruption has on their businesses and said there is no short-cut to becoming a billion-dollar company other than doing things the right way.
"I think corruption has become worse and if you choose not to participate in this, you leave behind a fair amount of business," Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata said at an event on 'Higher Ambition/How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value', organised by Harvard Business School in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Tata said that unlike in 1991, corruption is now not only seen in the grant of licence approvals, but also in the award of contracts and in changing the terms of contractual obligations.
"You have a non-level playing field and those who do not participate in this (paying bribes) live at a disadvantage. A large part of the business community is cautious," Tata said.
"You often have young employees who ask me, 'Why don't you just do it (give bribe)', but my reply to that is I would rather like to hold my head high," Tata remarked.
"What's happening at the Ramlila Ground signals a great shift of people wanting accountability and not just from politicians, but also from businesses," said Mahindra & Mahindra Vice Chairman and Managing Director Anand Mahindra.
"There is a much greater demand for accountability… You would not be able to deliver value unless you recognise this change in consumers, who are not going to buy brands that do not signify fairness and shared values," Mahindra said.
"One can bribe their way to make a USD 10 million company, but if you want to make a USD 1 billion company, there is no other way but to do business the right way," the founder of Infosys, N R Narayana Murthy, said at the event.
Businessmen’s remaining silent on corruption is also very unfair, Murthy said.
Replying to a query on why businessmen are not entering politics, Murthy said, "It is important to give an opportunity to young people. I want youngsters to join politics and we can support them."