November 2010
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Wanted Corporate Honchos for Nation Building

Bangalore: The question whether our political system is prepared for businessmen being inducted directly into government remains to be answered. Ever since Indian independence, many political leaders have initiated improved participation of corporate leaders in the decision making process of the country by placing them in charge of key government divisions. Although many failed to prove their corporate excellence in governance, India's overall economic prosperity, in many ways, is indebted to them. Nation building now mainly depends on the corporate honchos who are willing to render their service.

Jawaharlal Nehru had prominent businessmen like T.T. Krishnamachari, Shanmukham Chetty and John Mathai in his cabinet occupying key positions. Later, Rajiv Gandhi also had many excellent minds from the IT industry like Arun Nehru, Sam Pitroda and Arun Singh. They all had to part ways with the government due to difference in opinions.

Now as time went by, the political and corporate scenario of the country has changed. Politicians acknowledge the need for involvement of educated and successful business leaders in the development of the country and such leaders are willing to contribute their service for the country as well.

Sam Pitroda has been called back in 2005 and was first appointed as the Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission and then as the Advisor to PM on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations.

Manmohan Singh inducted Arun Maira who is the Chairman of Boston Consulting Group as a member of the Planning Commission. Arun quit the board membership of Patni Computers before joining the Commission. He also has served Tata Administrative Services for 25 years.

Shailesh Gandhi, who has been running a successful packaging firm with more than 500 employees and a clientele that included many blue-chips, had sold off his business to become a Right-to-Information activist. Few years down the line, he has been appointed as the Central Information Commissioner.

Military veteran Raghu Raman, CEO of Mahindra Defence Land Systems, a Mahindra-British Aerospace joint venture was appointed as the Mission Head, National Intelligence Grid. The government hopes that his experience both in military services and industry can be used for smooth flow of information among official agencies.

Nandan Nilekani, the former CEO of Infosys has been appointed as the Chairman of India?s ambitious UID project. He has assembled an elite group of software engineers, tech-savvy bureaucrats and biometric experts to run the show. Srikanth Nadhamuni, an engineer with 16 years of work experience with firms such as Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics and Intel, heads the unique ID technology team. Nandan?s team also includes Pramod Varma, an Infosys alumnus and V.P. Research & Chief Technology Architect at Sterling Commerce; R.S. Sharma, a bureaucrat; Wyly Wade, a World Bank consultant and Salil Prabhakar, a fingerprints specialist. Hundreds of techies with the leading IT firms have volunteered to be a part of the project.

The dream of inclusive growth can be realized only with the brilliant minds in the corporate world. The political culture has to reshape itself to accept the innovative ideas of the youth. The technological intelligence of the young workforce should be utilized aptly to make India a superpower in the next decade. If done so, then the days are not too far when the decision making body of our country will be a combination of people with political administrative expertise and corporate intelligence.



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