Corporate leaders on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance on the issue of phone tapping and his emphasis on tightening the existing system to prevent leakage of such recorded conversations.
"It is a welcome statement coming from the Prime Minister. It (phone tapping) was indeed a concern, but now the PM has come out with his support, we feel reassured. It is indeed a welcome announcement," ITC chairman Y V Deveshwar said.
While stating that there was "nervousness" in the corporate sector, Singh had said that the system to prevent leakage of tapped conversations should be tightened.
Cabinet Secretary has been asked to look into these issues and report back to the Cabinet within January 2011.
Supporting the PM, Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj said, "Public interest is important, but so is privacy, dignity and self respect of individuals.
"I do believe as the Prime Minister said today (Tuesday) that in today’s world some of these things are unfortunately necessary..."
Bajaj, however, stressed the illegal leakage of the tapped conversation was a concern.
Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej said that phone-tapping should be not be done indiscriminately.
It should be done only in cases involving national security or to combat terrorism, he said.
"National interest should be clearly defined and only a few top government people should have the authority to authorise tapping," Godrej said, adding "and once it is done, the conversations should be kept confidential".
Offering support to the prime minister's announcement, Future Group Chairman Kishore Biyani said, "The government and corporates have always worked together and such events (the tape issue) keep happening. But, private sector and the government always work in a collaboration."
Industry chamber Assocham President Dilip Modi said that the centre should bring out some stringent laws and regulations urgently to deal with corruption, which is threatening to damage the image of India Inc "owing to brazen act of few corporates".
CII also said there has to be transparency and an authority to decide under what circumstances phones can be tapped, and for how long and oversee the procedure.
"Our concern is that privacy should be respected. If it is done (phone tapping), it should be for a limited period like for a month or two. It should be utilised for that purpose and not leaked out in the public domain," CII president Hari S Bhartia said.
Emami Ltd director Harshvardhan Agarwal said that privacy of people should be respected and phone-tapping should be done only for reasons of national security and interest.