Legalise bribe-giving: Narayana Murthy | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Legalise bribe-giving: Narayana Murthy

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2011 15:38 IST

N R Narayana Murthy, chairman emeritus at Infosys, a pioneer of outsourcing industry and leader of one of country's biggest IT firms has argued that legalising paying bribes would help reduce endemic corruption in the South Asian country.

N R Narayana Murthy said he fully supported proposals from economist Kaushik Basu to make paying bribes legal because this would help members of the public blow the whistle on corrupt officials.

Under Basu's proposals receiving a bribe would remain illegal.

"If bribe giving, and not bribe taking, is made legal then the bribe giver shall indeed cooperate with the authorities to expose the bribe taker," Murthy said, the PTI reported.

"This seems to be an interesting idea and I think it should be implemented," he added.

He said graft had damaged India's growth prospects, adding that "the double-digit growth that has eluded India could have been ours if we had combated corruption," PTI said.

Transparency International, the global anti-graft body, puts India 87th on its corruption perception index -- 10 places below China -- with a 3.3-point rating, out of a best possible score of 10.

Government is currently battling a series of scandals, including a telecom scam which the national auditor said may have cost the treasury up to $40 billion in lost revenue.

But corruption is most often felt in people's everyday lives, with officials demanding bribes to secure everything from phone connections to birth certificates and driving licenses.

When the government's chief economic advisor Basu first announced his proposal to legalise bribe giving, commentators attacked his plans saying it would legitimise corruption.

Basu had argued that his policy would ensure that "the bribe giver will be willing to cooperate in getting the bribe taker caught. Knowing that this will happen, the bribe taker will be deterred from taking a bribe."

Murthy founded Infosys with six other entrepreneurs in 1981 with an investment of just $250.