London: IT major Infosys’ chairman Narayana Murthy has said the Indian government must take tough actions against corrupt people and e-governance has a great potential to improve accountability.
While delivering a lecture at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here on 1 July, he said by making major public projects data available online, corruption can be curbed and accountability enhanced in the country.
“We need leadership who can take tough decisions and deal firmly with corrupt people,” Murthy said and cited that harsh punishment, including death penalty, is meted to those involved in corruption cases in China.
“E-governance can help reduce corruption and improve accountability by making budgets and progress reports of major public projects available. (Providing) Free accessibility to any citizen and identifying people responsible for causing delay in decision making (will work wonders),” he added.
Murthy said India continues to struggle with corruption and “this image hurts India’s reputation abroad and negatively impacts its development.”
But there is hope!
“The good thing is that our bureaucracy has already accepted IT for governance. Like in Karnataka, land records, property tax bills, water bills, the issuance of birth and death certificates, trade licenses, and filing of consumer complaints have been computerised.”
Heaping praises over the Unique Identity (UID) project, which is aimed at establishing citizenship, reducing identity- related frauds and addressing security issues, he said, “The project for providing unique identification to every Indian resident is perhaps the most important among such projects.”
The pioneer of IT revolution, however, said that while computerising government and corporate functions, security can’t be compromised with. “Our IT systems must be fully protected against unauthorized access and malicious attacks by terrorists and evil elements from abroad,” Murthy said.
Talking about the progress in recent years, Murthy said growth of the IT-BPO sector has highlighted India on the world map, as a destination of choice for global investors.
But concerned about India’s perennial problems like poverty and illiteracy he said, “There is a dark side to this wonderful story. We have millions who remain poor, illiterate, and without access to decent health care facilities and shelter. Most importantly, we have not been able to create jobs but I believe that technology can help address some of these challenges,” he added.
“If India has to succeed in the global, knowledge-based economy, literacy and decent higher education for all Indians become critical,” Murthy said.