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Infosys asked to spread philosophy of integrity

SPREADING EXCELLENCE: Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy (left) and Minister Mentor, Republic of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, at the Infosys campus in Bangalore on Saturday. — Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar  

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Lee Kuan Yew, popularly known as the founding father of Singapore, on Saturday said that the Indian Government could take a leaf out of information technology giant Infosys Technologies to "spread the philosophy of integrity and excellence" and transform the country.

"I feel that this is the kind of test bed of what can be achieved in India despite all the problems that exist. It is little incubators like these that can multiply and transform India," the 82-year-old former Prime Minister, who currently holds the rank of Minister Mentor, Republic of Singapore, said during a visit to the corporate headquarters of Infosys here.

After watching a brief presentation on the Indian IT industry and Infosys by Chief Financial Officer T.V. Mohandas Pai, Mr. Lee sought to know about employees of the company choosing to quit despite its high stature in the IT industry, the names of its domestic and foreign competitors, how to spread the culture of excellence to the Union Government and when Chairman and Chief Mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy would join politics.

`Not joining politics'

However, Mr. Murthy told Mr. Lee that he is not cut out for politics. "Managing a company with a set of homogenous people is easier than managing a country with such diverse background and culture. I have no illusions I can do that," Mr. Murthy said.

"I beg to disagree with Murthy," Mr. Lee replied, suggesting that Infosys could send a core team to the Union Cabinet and transform India by "spreading the culture of integrity and excellence" that the company is best known for in India and the world over. Mr. Murthy said that Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Lee were his two heroes because of the exemplary leadership qualities they demonstrated.

"To me, leaders should dirty their hands and go to the trenches. That is the best way to demonstrate the value and spread the culture of excellence," he said. Mr. Pai informed Mr. Lee that Infosys has an attrition rate of around 10 per cent, which is low compared to industry standards.