Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy says slower growth's part of the economic cycle

Infosys founder not concerned about the lower growth figures, says economy inherently cyclical but what is different is everyone’s expectations have risen now. He added that medieval India had a rich culture of art, music since rulers encouraged a...

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“I believe that we have to accept it as part of nature and the economic cycle. And, good days will come back,” Murthy said.
BENGALURU: Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy said he was not greatly concerned about slowing economic growth as it was inherently cyclical, and that the main change was that people’s expectations had risen.

Indian economic growth has slowed over the past year, with core sectors failing to shine. The government has, however, taken a number of steps, including cutting corporate tax rates, to boost the flailing economy. “In the 70s, if someone had told my father that India had 5% economic growth, he would be jumping with joy, (now) we all get concerned with 5% growth. We have to realise that all that has happened is that our expectations have gone higher,” Murthy told ET in an interview.

All economies move in a cycle, and the country has grown at 7-8% for the last 15-18 years, he added.


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“I believe that we have to accept it as part of nature and the economic cycle. And, good days will come back,” Murthy said.

When asked if there were concerns that India was becoming increasingly protectionist and insular, he said that the government would need to take steps to maintain an optimum balance of payments.

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“You have to get back to the pre-1991 era where there was a banned list. Today, we don’t have that, so now if we try to decelerate imports we all get worried. So, I don’t look at these issues as one we should get into a panic about,” Murthy said. “They are trying to tweak the system, there are excellent economists in Delhi, so I believe that we have to be optimistic.”

Murthy was speaking on the sidelines of the Infosys Science Foundation awards which are given to scholars for achievements in Engineering and Computer Sciences, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. The prize for each category comprises a pure gold medal, a citation and a prize purse of $100,000 (or its equivalent in rupees) this year. Murthy said the prize sought to highlight the importance of learning, even in areas that have typically not found favour in India – such social sciences and the humanities.

“Parents want their children to learn something that can provide a decent livelihood. India is a poor country, so that is understandable, but this has to change. And, I am seeing it change. In the past ten years, we have seen some great universities come up in the humanities.”

Murthy said India had a lot of problems and needed to invest more in research to solve its issues. “We believe that research has to progress in all aspects of human life, whether it is physical sciences, mathematics, engineering or social sciences and arts. In every one of these, we need progress,” Murthy said.

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He added that medieval India had a rich culture of art, music, sciences and literature, since rulers of various kingdoms encouraged and supported such learning. He said corporates in India could take on that role in modern India, as the government had several other priorities.

“We have to revive those days of glory in India. It will not happen today or in twenty years. It will take time, but we have to start somewhere and that is the reason we believe we have to encourage our youngsters to excel in humanities and social sciences,” he said.
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