In an exclusive interaction with CIOL, former Lokayukta of Karnataka Justice N. Santosh Hegde talks about the current corporate scenario and the supposedly social-oriented initiatives taken up by them
BANGALORE, INDIA: Ethics is a treacherous terrain. Of those who venture into it, barely a few come out with flying colors. For it takes a lot of conviction, courage and involves conscience.
As far as corporates are concerned, the lesser said the better. As cut-throat competition means that most of the moral aspects, more sadly ethics, are compromised, what one sees on paper doesn't often turn a reality.
There, however, is a glimmer of hope. More so, when it is expressed by someone known for his integrity and puritan principles. Actually, it is heartening.
Justice Nitte Santosh Hegde, a former justice of Supreme Court and Lokayukta of Karnataka, lives by his word. He believes that the corporate ethics scene is evolving, for better. "There is 'wanting-to-change' attitude (among corporates). But it can't be done by just one or two companies. Industry bodies like CII or Assocham can drive the change and discipline the member organizations," said Justice Hegde, in an interaction with CIOL.
On the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives taken up by organizations, he felt that nothing much is happening. "As of now, nobody does anything, but there is hope. Most of them are party to collusive corruption, hand-in-hand with politicians and bureaucrats. Still, (for instance) many corporates have invited me to give talks on corruption and related issues," he explained.
"I even ask them why should I speak at their events and they say that they want to know about the issues that plague the country, which they would not know otherwise," Justice Hegde added.
It's the same corporates, including IT companies, that grab agricultural lands to set up their operations. "We need a sustainable system in place to deal with that. I, for one, wouldn't say that industrial growth is not important. We have to maintain a balance between industrial and agricultural growth."
Citing his vast experience in handling different cases, the septuagenarian gentleman said that certain sectors like telecom and defence are virtually run by corporates with vested interest and zero ethics. But, the IT sector has given international recognition to the country, especially Bangalore, concluded Justice Hegde.
The wise man has spoken. One can't agree any more. What say?