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NR Narayana Murthy Calls for a Pragmatic Approach to Freebies and Capitalism in India

In a thought-provoking address at the 26th edition of the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2023, NR Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, urged for a reconsideration of the conventional approach to freebies and emphasized the need for a more reciprocal model in providing government services and subsidies.

A Different Approach to Freebies: A Call for Contribution

Narayana Murthy challenged the notion of providing free services without expecting anything in return. He proposed that individuals availing government services and subsidies should be encouraged to contribute back to society for the betterment of all. Illustrating his point, he suggested linking the provision of free services to specific societal improvements. For instance, if free electricity is granted, the government could require an increase in school attendance as a reciprocal contribution.

“Murthy stressed that when offering services and subsidies, there should be corresponding commitments from recipients. This nuanced approach aims to harmonize public benefits with individual responsibilities, promoting a sustainable and mutually beneficial system.”

Capitalism as a Driver of Prosperity in India

Expressing his views on the economic landscape, Murthy advocated for capitalism as the pivotal solution for a country like India to achieve prosperity. Recognizing the challenges of being a developing nation, he highlighted the transformative potential of compassionate capitalism over socialist or communist ideologies.

“I endorse the provision of free services, acknowledging the significance of aiding individuals, considering my own background originating from a modest start. However, I believe that recipients of free subsidies should contribute something in return, fostering a greater sense of responsibility in shaping a better future for their succeeding generations, including their own children & grandchildren,” Narayana Murthy emphasized, highlighting the need for a harmonious between welfare initiatives & individual accountability.

Higher Taxation for Efficient Public Goods

Murthy delved into the topic of taxation, acknowledging that in a developing country like India, higher taxation is a necessary means to create efficient, corruption-free, and effective public goods. He articulated his willingness to contribute to higher levels of taxation for the greater good, recognizing that this approach is essential for national progress.

Narayana Murthy emphasized that as a developing nation striving to establish efficient, corruption-free, and effective public goods, it is imperative to acknowledge that taxation rates need to be higher compared to those observed in developed countries. This underscores the crucial role of robust public infrastructure and services in fostering national progress.

The Evolution of a Visionary: From Leftist Ideology to Compassionate Capitalism

NR Narayana Murthy reflected on his own ideological evolution, sharing how he transitioned from a strong leftist perspective to becoming a “determined compassionate capitalist.” He believes that compassionate capitalism, which balances economic growth with a sense of responsibility towards society, is the key to lifting a country like India out of poverty and into prosperity.

As India awaits the outcomes of these visionary principles, Narayana Murthy’s call for a pragmatic and reciprocal approach to governance, welfare, and capitalism stands as a compelling invitation to shape a sustainable and equitable future for the nation.

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