India: Business leaders call for tolerance of religious minorities & dissent

Business leaders and economists are voicing concern about religious intolerance in India, arguing "fraught sociopolitical landscape is making it less conducive to international business". Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy said there is "considerable fear" among the minorities in India. Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan called for tolerance and respect for economic progress while criticising the growing tendency to ban unpalatable views, delicately yet forcefully wading into the raging debate over rising intolerance in society.

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Article
30 November 2015

Top Indian Business Leaders Warn Growing Religious Intolerance May Harm the Economy

Author: Rishi Iyengar, Time

They say India's growing hostility towards minorities will decrease its attractiveness as a business destination...The growing intolerance “creates a kind of concern about investing in a country,” said Shaw, the chairman and managing director of Indian biotechnology company Biocon...Murthy, the billionaire founder of IT company Infosys, had said earlier in an interview with Indian news channel NDTV that there is “considerable fear” among minorities in India that must be resolved to preserve the economy.

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Article
30 November 2015

India’s Raghuram Rajan warns against intolerance [subscription required]

Author: Amy Kazmin, Financial Times

Raghuram Rajan, India’s central bank governor, has appealed for tolerance of diverse opinions and challenges to established orthodoxies, warning that India’s long-term economic prospects depend on a climate of intellectual freedom... His words — an unusual departure from his more typical public musings on interest rates, bad debt, delinquent entrepreneurs and the international financial system — come amid a climate of growing intolerance in the south Asian country, and fears that the protection of individual rights is giving way to a strident majoritarianism... Mr Rajan’s call for tolerance comes just days after Moody’s Analytics, the economic research arm of Moody’s Corp, warned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed to rein in some of the more rightwing members of his administration lest his promised economic reform agenda be derailed by rising social strife.

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Article
26 November 2015

Religious splintering will harm India story, Barack Obama warns Narendra Modi

Author: Daily News & Analysis [India]

Making a strong pitch for religious tolerance, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution and that India will succeed so long it is not "splintered" on religious lines..."Your (Constitution) Article 25 says all people are equally entitled to the freedon of consience and have right to freely profess and practise and propagate religion. In both our countries, in all countries upholding with freedom of religion is the utmost responsibility of the government but also the responsibility of every person," he said.

 

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Article
26 November 2015

What about the business of tolerance?

Author: K Ramkumar, Mint

A fair workplace and good corporate governance depend on how tolerant business leaders are to criticism and dissent...[H]...ow much space businesses have for employees to fearlessly articulate their thoughts and opinions without having to face punitive repercussions...How often do we see a culture in any business organization where minority groups that are adversely impacted by a policy can fearlessly engage their business leadership? Intolerance to the concerns of minority groups is what drove employees about 150 years ago to find safety in numbers—trade unions. We know that the law forbids having employees work more than nine hours in a day and 48 hours in a week. Yet, in most organizations that do not have trade unions, employees are required to work much longer...the first step is initiating a public debate on the current culture in business organizations, especially the role that the independent board members are required to play, to make business establishments more tolerant.

 

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Article
15 November 2015

India’s Tolerance for Intolerance

Author: Devesh Rasgotra, Global Risk Insights

...India is an attractive destination for economic investment as it has a population that is diverse in its skills. Yet, with Hindu nationalists curtailing the freedom of those who do not share their ideology that rich diversity is reduced and negatively impacts businesses and investment...If the image of the country is negatively impacted then there will be subsequent effects on economic growth. We have seen Moody’s Analytics call for Modi to rein in and tone down the rhetoric from Hindu nationalists. This is because the credibility of India’s financial sector would be aversely affected.

 

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Article
4 November 2015

India dismisses Moody's warning about religious strife

Author: Charles Riley, CNN

India's Press Information Bureau dismissed Thursday a Moody's Analytics report that urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do more to prevent "belligerent provocation" of religious minorities by his political allies...The report, written by economist Faraz Syed, warned that rising religious strife could derail Modi's reform agenda...TThe criticism isn't coming just from international observers. Last week, Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy become the first prominent business leader to speak out, telling local media of the "considerable fear in the minds of minorities in India...Several dozen writers and artists, concerned over what they describe as an atmosphere of intimidation, have returned government awards in protest.

 

 

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Article
31 October 2015

Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan's speech: Tolerance and Respect for Economic Progress

Author: Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Reserve Bank of India

I will speak on why India’s tradition of debate and an open spirit of enquiry is critical for its economic progress...new ideas, new methods of production, better logistics – these are what lead to sustained economic growth...Actions that physically harm anyone, or show verbal contempt for a particular group so that they damage the group’s participation in the marketplace for ideas, should certainly not be allowed. For example, sexual harassment, whether physical or verbal, has no place in society. At the same time, groups should not be looking for slights any and everywhere, so that too much is seen as offensive; the theory of confirmation bias in psychology suggests that once one starts looking for insults, one can find them everywhere, even in the most innocuous statements. Indeed, if what you do offends me but does not harm me otherwise, there should be a very high bar for prohibiting your act. After all, any ban, and certainly any vigilante acts to enforce it, may offend you as much, or more, than the offense to me. Excessive political correctness stifles progress as much as excessive license and disrespect.

 

 

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Article
31 October 2015

Tolerance and mutual respect need of the hour: Raghuram Rajan, Governor, RBI

Author: Press Trust of India

The voices asserting the citizen's right to question authority and the need to preserve India's plural traditions got a booster shot on Saturday when President Pranab Mukherjee and Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, along with Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, decided to express their concerns as well....Rajan made a strong pitch for greater tolerance and respect for opposing viewpoints while criticising the growing tendency to ban unpalatable views, delicately yet forcefully wading into the raging debate over rising intolerance in society. 

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