Maligning Infosys, Amazon uncalled for, goes against govt’s vision of encouraging industry

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September 28, 2021 5:15 AM

Citizens need to be allowed to express themselves without fear of incarceration; at the very least, they should have the courage to defend themselves and those in their fraternity. In a healthy democracy, both sides share their points of view with respect for each other; unfounded, unfair accusations and haranguing have no place here.

Citizens need to be allowed to express themselves without fear of incarceration; at the very least, they should have the courage to defend themselves and those in their fraternity.Citizens need to be allowed to express themselves without fear of incarceration; at the very least, they should have the courage to defend themselves and those in their fraternity.

Panchjanya, a magazine affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has compared Amazon with East India Company, accusing the e-retailer of “taking steps to encircle the political, economic and individual freedom of people here”. The magazine also alleged Amazon is failing to uphold Hindu values as seen in the content on Prime Videos. Such unsubstantiated and disparaging comments are uncalled for.

If indeed any rules and regulations have been violated, there are regulators to address these; complaints must be furnished to the regulators or in a court of law with complete evidence. Vilifying organisations in this manner helps no one and merely vitiates the environment. Indeed, prime minister Narendra Modi had earlier this year made it clear that the culture of rapping the private sector was no longer acceptable.

It was most unfortunate Panchjanya, just a few days earlier, had cast aspersions on a firm of the stature of Infosys, saying it was trying to destabilise the Indian economy. The founders of Infosys are role models for all youngsters: bright entrepreneurs who built a world-class business by sheer dint of hard work and earned their wealth, and respect, the right way.

The IT major is evidence of what Indians can achieve and aspire to. To allege that Infosys is part of the ‘Naxals, Leftists and the tukde tukde gang’, simply because it has not yet been unable to fix the glitches on a tax portal, is unfair and uncalled for. The magazine had also questioned the safety of the data on the ministry of corporate affairs’ upgraded portal, which Infosys has worked on. The RSS chose to distance itself from the Infosys report, saying Panchjanya was not its mouthpiece, but it needed to have sounded supportive of the company.

Indeed, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman called out the publication saying, “That wasn’t right…I think that was not called for…”. Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal’s comments on the Tata Group too were without good reason. The Tatas could well have objections to the e-commerce policy, as do several others; that does not mean they are pulled up in public, or private for that matter. After all, it is businessmen who are risking their capital and they are well within their rights to demand fair and equitable policies that benefit their companies.

That does not make them anti-national; far from it, their investments will be made right here in India creating jobs for thousands. Given the NDA government claims it wants to promote industry, it was surprising, no senior representative thought it necessary to set things right. In fact, a Reuters report noted the government’s plan to tighten rules on its fast-growing e-commerce market has run into internal government dissent, citing memos reviewed by it. The report noted the finance ministry had described some proposals as “excessive” and “without economic rationale”.

It is not surprising at all that the chieftains of India Inc didn’t stand up for Infosys. Companies are clearly afraid to speak their minds, except to applaud the government. And, it is not just companies, other sections of society, including journalists and activists, too are now afraid of speaking out for fear of being harassed by the institutions of state.

Citizens need to be allowed to express themselves without fear of incarceration; at the very least, they should have the courage to defend themselves and those in their fraternity. In a healthy democracy, both sides share their points of view with respect for each other; unfounded, unfair accusations and haranguing have no place here.

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