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Evangelise the entrepreneurship

Zafar Anjum | April 29, 2013
In a wide-ranging interview, Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, India, speaks of the three pillars of startups, the Singapore scene, the new direction of the Indian IT industry, and corporate governance.

Incidentally, we had many programmes for small companies. In fact, last year we did 200 events and when I say events, it's about connecting rather than offering. Only 10 events were of national scale, the other 190 events were for small companies. We have what is known as "Emerged 50" where we acknowledge the best 50 companies ever year and we publicise that so they get visibility, they get orders. So, there is a lot of work that we do. I don't think it's a breakaway group. That's the way it got positioned in the media. We have similar groups in Bangalore. We have IAMAI which is an association of Internet mobile. We work with them. There is an organisation called ISA. We work with them. I think they will be there. Every one of us has their role.

The Satyam scandal and corporate governance

Probably one last question, if you allow me. It is related to the Satyam case. After the scandal broke, everything in the end got sorted out. Has Nasscom or the government taken any steps to ensure that these kinds of problems don't arise in the future in terms of corporate governance and transparency?

Well, from our perspective as Nasscom, we had set up a group under Mr. (Narayan) Moorthy to look at the governance and we found that Indian regulatory environment is actually strong and there are obviously many more things that can be done there but we actually focused on overall governance and that governance is how you relate with employees, customers, competitors; that's also an important part of dealing.

From a government perspective, obviously there has been far more alertness but we are still following the principle of "trust and check," "trust and verify" as they call it. So, you can't be putting more and more regulations in. You already have enough but I think what we need to do is (detect) what are the early warning signals that we could have seen which could have prevented this part.

I think there has been a lot of learning that has come in among people and I think even the audit firms and so on. I think their own scrutinies and so on have changed. What happened (at Satyam) was very unfortunate. It was one incident and by the way this must have been the most unique case in the world when nobody detected it. It was confessed. So, here it could have gone undetected.

The Satyam case would have gone undetected if the confession hadn't come?

 Right. So, it's a very different kind of a case. We do think that given our own business model which is based on trust, you could destroy your company because here are customers of yours ten thousands of miles away asking you to do something and if they find that you are not trustworthy (what will they do?). So I would think that post-Satyam, most of our companies would have gone on an overdrive in ensuring that the customer's trust is not breached.

Thank you very much.

I hope you got everything that you wanted.

Yes I did. Thank you.



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