The stock response when a captain of Indian industry is asked what he has done for India is, why? Why must industry do something when it is paying taxes and duties.
The commonsense logic behind the response is that industry must do what it is good at: employing people, making products, selling them, etc. Government must do what it is supposed to be good at: using the taxes collected for the greater common good.
The question has gained special currency in the Information Technology era. Why should IT do more than what it already has? The answer, says Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen, lies in historical reciprocity and a categorical imperative.
The country has made huge contributions, even though they are not often clearly recognised, to help the development and flowering of the IT industry in India, and it is not silly to ask what in return the IT might do for India.
Click on the AMARTYA SEN button on the top-right of the screen for the full unabridged text of Prof Sen’s captivating speech at the Nasscom meet in Bombay last month.