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Infosys Technologies chief mentor NR Narayana Murthy says capitalism is the only resort for India to solve its problem of poverty, even as he finds “serious crisis of moral dimension” in most Indian leaders. The non-executive chairman of one of India’s largest and most admired software companies also advocates some radical economic reforms such as hire and fire policy, privatisation and foreign investment in retail trade industry.

Asked if he advocated privatisation of India’s vast public sector, including the so-called ‘Navratnas’ (nine gems among state-run firms), Murthy replied in the affirmative and said even infrastructure development should be in the hands of the private sector.

“There is no doubt at all. I don’t believe the government should be in business. I think the Navratnas would perform better if they are in private sector hands or if they operate as if they are in the private sector,” he said.

“I believe even infrastructure should be built by private sector. The government should create policies that encourage private sector to create infrastructure – for example, airports, roads, power companies, distribution companies, ports.”

Murthy said that the retail trade industry in India – that is open only to single-brand multinational corporations – should be thrown open to investments from overseas.

“When we have opened it to large Indian groups, it means the mom and pop stores are likely to suffer anyway. So why not open it to large multinationals? Let them bring the best technology, best practices so that at the end of the day the consumer benefits.”

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