05/24/2007, 00.00
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Singh warns business leaders not to forget their responsibilities towards society

In an address to the Confederation of Indian Industry, India’s prime minister reminded the country’s corporate leaders that they have obligations towards the less fortunate classes of the population. He suggests they adopt codes of conduct against corruption.

Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In a strongly-worded message to India’s business community, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that corporate leaders have responsibilities towards the population. In his speech he advocated a 'ten-point social charter' for sharing the benefits of economic growth with the less privileged.

“Corporate social responsibility must not be defined by tax planning strategies alone. Rather, it should be defined within the framework of a corporate philosophy which factors [in] the needs of the community and the regions in which the corporate entity functions,” he told the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi.

The Prime Minister also made it clear that the operation of cartels by groups of companies to keep prices high must end.

“It is unacceptable to obstruct the forces of competition from having fair play. It is even more distressing in a country where the poor are severely affected by rising commodity prices,” Singh said.

He suggested the CII develop “codes of conduct2 to fight corruption, saying there are many successful companies that have refused to yield to corrupt business practices.

He concluded by praising the industry for maintaining high growth, but warned corporate leaders that to win the race to be globally competitive, “you must work in a harmonious environment, an environment in which all citizens feel actually involved in economic growth and in which each citizen sees hope for a better future.”

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