Mr N Gopalaswami, IAS, (Retd.), delivered the Second Convocation Address at SKIPS on 18 April 2011. Management students received Post Graduate Diploma in Management, a high-end two-year full-time Program offered by the Institute. The Institute topper, received the Janak Madan Charitable Educational Trust Scholastic Medal.
MR N GOPALASWAMI, IAS (RETD)
At the outset, let me express my gratitude to the Chairman Col.Vinod Kumar and the Advisory Council of SKIPS, for the opportunity given to me to be part of this Yearâ€™s graduation ceremony. It is always a pleasure for me to come to Gujarat, my karma bhoomi, a place where I spent the formative years of my career in the IAS, a place I love for its distinct culture and values. It is a place which is synonymous with business and a people for whom â€˜live and let liveâ€™ is a philosophy.
You, who have gone through College education, are the fortunate few, less than 20% of the population leaving schools which accesses College education. As the more fortunate, you are part of the elite who will get to positions of prestige, responsibility and power and so, where the country will go in the next few decades will depend on how you conduct yourselves.
In the last couple of years, you have witnessed some extraordinary cases of corruption at high places unfolding before the country â€“ the 2G Scam, the Adarsh Scam, the Commonwealth Games Scam and so on. There was a myth that was spread around that corruption was to be found only in Government offices. These scams, especially the 2G Spectrum scam, have shattered the myth with so many corporate biggies caught with their hands in the till. The 2G scam has reduced to rubble the reputation of many hitherto venerated names in the corporate world. Is it possible to any more say that there no corruption in the Corporate World?
Recently I was told by a friend of mine whose company supplies hospital equipments, that the Chairman of a big name Hospital chain perforce takes a cut for passing tenders. While I do not deny that there are honourable exceptions like Infosys Technologies and a few others, the picture does not seem very bright on that side as well. It makes me think that perhaps we have failed to inculcate a sense of responsibility and probity in our people and system. No wonder India is at a shameful 87th place in the Transparency Internationalâ€™s ranking of Countries in the descending order of the level of corruption. Many countries are wary of doing business in India because of the perception of a climate of bribery in our country. Perhaps they would want us to mend our ways and impose conditions in that regard. Nothing can be more shameful than being told by International community that they would not do business with us because of pervasive corruption. The Transparency International India has initiated a movement to improve the procedures in Public Sector Companies and to make them more transparent and less discriminatory and thereby improve the climate for ethical business practices. It involves every Public sector company signing an Integrity Pact with all their vendors that they would not resort to any bribery or underhand deals and in turn are assured of transparency and merit based decisions in dealing with all supply and service contracts and tenders. Each company is also required to appoint 2 neutral umpires called Independent External Monitors (IEMs) to receive representations/complaints and to give their findings. There is a case for all State Governments also to adopt such a practice in the interests of bringing in a corruption-free regime in companies across the country. Further Government companies have been told to increasingly use the e-tendering process to reduce person to person contacts. Thus an attempt is being made to improve probity in the system.
If you think that all that is necessary for only the Public Sector Companies, I would like you to look around and see what revealations are coming out of the 2G scam. Fake companies, Front companies and Money-laundering, falsification of records, etc., indulged in by private companies whose managers are now being hauled over to jails. That should put you wise to the corruption in private sector companies. If the license-permit-quota raj bred corruption in Government ably aided by unethical business practices indulged in by the private sector, after liberalisation things do not seem to have improved and on the contrary now the driving force is the private sector greed. I want to draw your attention to the question â€“ who pays for a Companyâ€™s corruption and violations? Note that apart from the public being the loser, within a company, the manager will be the fall guy. The owner-promoter gets away. If you have any doubt, just look at the list of those who have been put in jail in 2G Spectrum scam â€“ Senior managers of Telecom companies and not their Chairman/M.Ds. At least in Government one Minister is paying the price but in the private sector â€“ you who will be the Managers at different levels will bear the brunt. So it behoves you to resolve that you will not be party to unethical business practices.
You may wonder what harm the public will be subjected to if a company is not adopting ethical standards. Well, assume a company that runs a course for budding pilots issues false certificates and based on that a person gets a pilotâ€™s license. Is your life safe, when he pilots an aircraft you travel in? If you accept that your company need not follow ethical standards, then you cannot question the other company too â€“ if something is good for you why cannot it be good for others?
Take another case. If you know that a Doctor has a degree from non-existent Medical college or a Medical college that has fudged its records to show facilities, faculties etc., while in fact they are woefully understaffed and hence they give MBBS degrees to under-taught, under-trained and so under-qualified persons, will you be willing to entrust your life to him? After all that Medical college has also merely not followed ethical standards like you do in your company and then why should that be a horrible crime and yours any less than that? Be therefore aware that ethics and ethical behaviour cannot be selectively applied for some, while some others are given an exemption. You have a responsibility to the society to see that standards of ethics are followed at your work place. You can choose to be a silent protagonist or a vocal one. The latter may vocalize his concern, may even protest. The former works silently to change the parameters of behaviour in his work place. I am aware that it is not an easy task and may be you would draw criticism from your colleagues or become unpopular but that is a small price to pay in the cause of ethical business. Imagine, a soldier on the border guarding our frontiers. If he finds a colleague letting in an enemy for a fee/bribe, would you accept his silence or would you feel outraged that he is compromising the countryâ€™s security. If you cannot accept it, then how can you accept if your company or your colleague adopts an unethical practice and you look the other way? If you expect a lowly-paid soldier to be a whistle-blower, how can you, with your better education, a higher pay packet and respectable position in society, justify your silence or expect it to be viewed any differently? It would be a case of double standards if one expects the soldier to uphold countryâ€™s integrity and you, a highly educated individual, are allowed to violate it with impunity. Integrity and ethical behaviour is not a curse to be visited on the lowly and to be practised at their convenience by the upper echelons of the society.
Listen to what Edmund Burke, Irish politician and philosopher had to say-
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothingâ€.
In your career you will face many instances of this kind of dilemma where your commitment to probity and ethics is put to severe test but I am sure you would make the right choice if you are imbued with ethics as the basis of your actions and not the mere acquiring of wealth or position. The higher you climb the more is expected of you in terms of probity because as a leader you are expected to set standards for others to follow. As educated, intelligent and young, you are the future of this country and in the position of leaders of the community and a society looks up to its leaders to set the path.
Also the higher you climb the greater is the fall if you deviate from the path of probity.
If I am confident that you will do the right thing and uphold ethical behaviour there is a reason. Firstly, you are from this Institution that is named after a noble Saint Kabir who preached respect and compassion for all and as a product of this institution you cannot but uphold values in life.
Neither the task nor the road is easy but then nothing in life is achieved without fierce commitment and constant striving. You owe it first to yourself, to your family, to this institution that equipped you and provided the passport to the world of work and finally, to the Country.
With these words let me conclude by wishing you all a very bright future.
COL VINOD KUMAR (RETD)
On behalf of Janak Madan charitable educational trust, the governing council and staff of SKIPS, I feel extremely happy and proud to be welcoming you all to the second convocation function of the Institute. We are indeed extremely fortunate to have amidst us Mr.N. Gopalaswami, our former Chief Election Commissioner.
I had a chance to go through some of the websites to refer his profile and we cannot but be impressed. He had been a brilliant student who received gold medal for his post graduation in chemistry from Delhi University. Having held various top level positions through out his career, he has excelled practically in every assignment that was given to him. He is a lustrous and vitiating leader and conducted many state assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections in a flawless manner. He also takes keen interest in astrology and vedic scriptures. He is known for his interest in the heritage work and I am happy in telling you that Champaner came to be inscribed in the UNESCOâ€™s list of World Heritage sites due to his initiative. It was a delightful experience when I visited Champaner 3 to 4 years back with few retired army officers. We also notice that these days a lot of effort is put in to make Ahmedabad as a heritage city and I am sure that our Chief Guest today would lend his helping hand in making Ahmedabad a heritage city. Once gain I mention that you are role model to our passing out students and we are extremely thankful for accepting our invitation. India is witnessing a great change. The new buzzword is India shining? or the India story. Earlier one would always think of an American dream. I distinctively remember that 15-20 years back that Indian passports never evoked any attention in the eyes of authorities. But today after so many success stories by Indians all over the world, they not only command respect wherever they go but are known for their acumen and best practices. This is true and evident in all those high profile business meets like the world economic forums wherein leading economists are discussing as to which horse they should back, India or China. All this is happening because we are growing at a very respective pace wherein our industry and service sector have their great contribution. I congratulate all the students of PGDM for their unstinted toil and sweat for the last 2 years. It is a very rigorous course, a very rigorous curriculum demanding long hours of work. As our Institute has always laid emphasize on developing Indian values, development of written and spoken English for communication, emphasize on cultivating reading habits and managerial skills, I can assure you that the passing out students are equipped with necessary skills to face the corporate world. My congratulations to the parents who have come to witness the award of PGDM Diplomas to their wards and I wish them good luck. A word about business ethics and honesty We are observing the movement for anti-corruption led by Shri Anna Hazare at New Delhi. I think the word corruption has angered each and everyone of us and it has moved us to do something for the society we live in. Well, this is a disease which is deep rooted and each one of you as responsible citizens should question as to what can be do about it and display courage in rooting out corruption of any kind. This is easier said than done. You may think that this is the end of 2 years of study but this is the beginning. Always remember that great leaders are very great readers they read a lot and are self learners for their life. I once gain wish that you walk the path created by them and wishing you all success.
Reach out to horizons not ventured by ordinary mortals. Be different and capture the world through sheer hard work and application. My best wishes!
DR SHANTANU MEHTA
Respected Chief Guest, Chairman, Members of Governing Body, Members of Advisory Council, Faculty, Invited Guests, Parents and My beloved Students
Congratulations!!! Your dream has come true. See more dreams, Work Hard and Nobody is better than you. March ahead. The world is full of opportunities.
Sir, SKIPS started in 2008, PGDM, (AICTE approved) with a vision of gainful employment in various areas of corporate world. It is an infant of 3 years age, has started walking slowly
All around beginnings are encouraging. I proudly present to you some extraordinary contributions by faculty members in the form of text books, cases and papers at various institutes of repute.
- Dr. Ravi Gor who is completing Post Doctoral at Brunswick University , Canada has published one more book on Operation Research (4th year of reprint and accepted as text book in 8 universities in the area of Mathematics, Management, Economics, Engineering, Computer Science)
- Prof. Rajiv Joshi, the 3rd highest contributor from India with 8 Indian Cases at European Case Clearing House, has also published 2 cases in AICTE sponsored case book (1 jointly with Prof. Pallavi)
- Prof Pallavi Mittal has to her credit a case published and a paper presented at an international conference at Singapore.
- Dr. Himani Joshiâ€™s research paper on Analyzing Non-tax revenue of Indian states a panel data study â€ presented at ANVESHAK is accepted for the edited book to be published by MS University
Dr.Raashid Saiyed is on the editorial board of ITM Business School, Warangalâ€™s WIM Journal of Management since last 2 years.
Humble simple undersigned, myself was invited as member of Local Organising Committee of AIMS International IIMA The saying that some achieve success is a proof to all, that others can achieve it as well stands right in our Institute case when we look at some of the important achievements of our students