Infosys asked to spread philosophy of integrity

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 attrition rate, whether foreign rivals were poaching on its employees, 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. It's another ball game altogether. 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. "There is a need to spread that philosophy with the Government. But, how to get elected is the moot question," Mr. Lee said evoking laughter from those present.

Mr. Murthy said that Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Lee were his heroes because of the exemplary leadership qualities they demonstrated. Welcoming Mr. Lee to Infosys, Mr. Murthy said, "today we have in our midst a person, who in front of our eyes, transformed a third world country into a leading edge first-world country. There is so much one can learn from him".