Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy on Thursday said India has for the first time in 300 years an economic environment that breeds confidence and optimism that its poverty can be eliminated. "For the first time in 300 years, we have an economic environment that engenders confidence that we can indeed overcome our poverty and create a better future for every Indian," said Murthy, addressing the fourth convocation function of the Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology (MMMUT) here at Gorakhpur.
"If we try hard, we can wipe the tears off the eyes of the poorest of the poor child, as Mahatma Gandhi wanted," said Murthy, addressing the gathering that comprised Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath besides MMMUT Vice Chancellor Sri Niwas Singh, dozens of university professors and hundreds of students. "It is easy to drape ourselves in our national flag and shout 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' and 'Jai Ho', but it is difficult to practice the values. Patriotism means what will bring the best out of every citizen," said Murthy, explaining the true meaning of patriotism. Murthy said patriotism implies working for the country, putting its interests ahead of one's personal interests.
"We have to put the interest of our nation ahead of our personal interests, avoiding our egos and biases," he said. Patriotism also means working with a zeal for the betterment of the society, he said. "We have to constantly compare ourselves with countries better than us and learn from them. We have to shun apathy and become proactive in solving the problems of our society rather than expecting others to do it," he said.
Describing the present state of economy, Narayana Murthy said, "Our economy is growing at 6 to 7 per cent this year. India has become the software development centre of the world. Our foreign exchange reserve has crossed 400 billion dollar. Investor confidence is at a historic high." Sounding optimistic of the country's bright future, Murthy said, "Portfolio investments from abroad and foreign direct investment into India are growing faster than ever. Our entrepreneurs are receiving huge funding from venture capitalists. Our stock exchanges are doing pretty well. According to the Forbes magazine, the number of billionaires in India is increasing." Murthy also spoke of a "parallel India", "steeped into poverty, illiteracy, ill health and malnutrition" and co-existing with a developed one and emphasised upon the government's obligation to create an entrepreneur-friendly business environment to tackle the malady.
"We have another India steeped in deep poverty, illiteracy, ill health and malnutrition. We have the largest mass of illiterates in the world. About 350 million Indians cannot read or write. More than 200 million Indians do not have access to safe drinking water. About 750 million Indians do not have access to sanitation facilities. We have consistently been among the lowly-ranked nations in the HDI (Human Development Index)," rued Murthy. "Our governments have to become more citizen friendly and remove all obstacles to entrepreneurs to create larger and larger number of jobs. Our economic policies have to be less populist and more based on expertise. We have to shun jingoism." Murthy advised the government. On the occasion, the lead architect of India's IT industry, was conferred an honorary doctorate degree by the university.