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'IBM is legacy, Infosys is the future'
Shishir Bhate in Mysore |
July 30, 2006 21:17 IST
"It is difficult to believe we are in India," gushed Finance Minister P Chidambaram, speaking at the 25th anniversary celebrations of Indian infotech giant Infosys Technologies Ltd at the company's magnificent campus in Mysore on Sunday evening.
"This could be the Silicon Valley in California, this could be Stuttgart, this could be France, this could be a buzzing place in Australia. It is not even in a capital city, but in a place of great history and a greater future. I am proud that this is in India, and I salute the entrepreneurs who have made this dream possible," the finance minister went on.
Indeed, one look at the sprawling campus, replete with glass-and-steel edifices that seem straight out of a futuristic science fiction film, the massive entertainment glass 'globe' like a golf ball from Brobdingnag, the rambling and perfectly landscaped lawns, the world's largest training centre for IT professionals, the buzz among Infosys's greatest wealth -- its employees, the contagious feeling of joy that those on the campus exude... and one can be forgiven for believing that he is no longer within India's borders.
The nation's finance minister clearly was more than impressed. Stating that the 25 years of Infosys' voyage have been a matter of true grit triumphing over great difficulties, he said: "IBM is legacy, Infosys is the future." Chidambaram said this is what Nandan Nilekani, the company's chief executive officer, tells the world.
He said that Infosys has brought incalculable acclaim to India and saluted the company for unlocking the phenomenal potential of young Indians, and for unleashing the power of learning and knowledge. Chidambaram said that such endeavours should be looked at with respect, just as political institutions that have gathered monstrous proportions should he judged with suspicion.
The finance minister said that knowledge powerhouses like Infosys can help transform India into a global giant across various industry sectors and spheres of human endeavour.
The youth of today can help build a new, strong, prosperous, poverty- and disease-free India by the sheer application of India's traditional strength: knowledge, Chidambaram added.
He remarked that while the state can adopt the role of an enabler, allowing entrepreneurship to blossom, it is the youth of the nation who can actually transform it into a true global power. Several Infosyses in different industries can help India become a world leader, and this could be achieved by the country turning into a knowledge society.
"With knowledge, learning and aspiration," India can make more Infosyses, he said.
"Infosys is a company that has raised the aspirations of the nation," the finance minister said.
Hailing the Infosys campus and its huge training centre, he said: "If you want a campus, a training centre, a convention centre, build the world's largest. Get professionals from across the globe to come to India to work with Indian firms. India can become a world destination for excellence."
Speaking extempore on the occasion, the finance minister peppered his speech with nuggets of information and more than a smattering of humour.
He gave examples to explain how much freer India is today to do business and grow as an entrepreneur, than it was 25 years ago when N R Narayana Murthy, founder and chairman of Infosys and six of his friends, began with a pocket-full of dreams and only Rs 10,000 to nurture them.
Earlier, Nandan Nilekani welcomed the guests, including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kuramaswamy and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.