Terming corruption and frauds as a worldwide menace, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said it is unacceptable to single out India and other developing economies for these issues, even as he assured global investors about New Delhi's commitment to an institutional mechanism to address these concerns.
After meeting about two dozen CEOs of global companies on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting here last night, Mr Sharma said the companies are looking at India very seriously in the wake of the recent policy decisions and initiatives the government has taken.
"I can see that there is enthusiasm, there is a desire to engage more with India and invest in India," Mr Sharma said. "The message is loud and clear and those investing in India are aware of what our policies are."
Asked whether there is a sense of foreign investors not being very confident about investing in India after the reform process looked like it was being halted earlier amid regulatory issues and matters like corruption and if these issues were flagged at the meeting, Mr Sharma asked: "But, when did we stop?"
"Regulatory regimes are there in any mature democracy or economy and when we had the collapse of regulatory regimes we saw what happened in the US and Europe. I have very firm views in this regard because there were no firm regulatory regimes for their banking and insurance systems and that led to the creation of toxic financial assets which led to the collapse of their own economies and institutions and also had a huge adverse impact on the global economy," he said.
"With regard to the issue of corruption, we always say that we will never tolerate corruption. But to single out one country or a group of countries for corruption is unfair. We have seen corporate frauds in the developed and rich countries. We have seen corruption scandals in many other countries, but this becoming a cliche with respect to developing economies and emerging economies is not acceptable," he added.
"We are a rule-based and rule-governed democracy and nobody should question our commitment to a institutional mechanism to address these issues. I am not seeking certificates from individual opinion makers who do not have adequate comprehension of where we come from," Mr Sharma said.
The meeting was attended by top executives of Telenor, Merck, Bristol, Bata, Aetna, Jones Lang LaSallem KPMG and Sistema. Senior executives of large Indian companies like Hero, Bharti, Jubilant, Godrej, Genpact and Triveni Engineering were also present.