‘Pai’ned by all this?

Infosys unhappy with Bangalore. Hyderabad wants Infosys. Infosys unhappy over ‘Karnataka’s treatment’. Bangalore loosing out to other cities.

Headlines in the media – The Hindu, Business Line, Deccan Herald, Telegraph, IBN, Business Standard…et al – attributed to Mr. Mohandas Pai, CFO of Infosys post an industry meet in Hyderabad day before yesterday.

One report mentioned that Mr. Pai “….made no attempt to hide either his admiration for the capital of Andhra Pradesh or his contempt for Bangalore.”

What with the shoddy performance of the previous Karnataka government, there have been almost universal pronouncements of unhappiness & disgust even, but excuse me, contempt?

Ouch. With all the diseases floating around, one wonders if Mr. Pai has just suffered a case of the one going by the name ‘putting-foot-in-mouth’ disease. Seems like baaaad timing, if you ask me.

While his anguish is understandable, given Infosys’s track record of contribution to I.T, Karnataka and specifically, Bangalore, I’m still taken aback by that word. Contempt. Wow.

Perhaps Mr. Pai ought to be more circumspect. His statements somehow seem a bit hasty considering recent moves by the new government which:

a) is trying its best to undo the PR damage caused to the IT industry due to the inaction of the former government;
b) has just given its ‘in-principle’ approval for the allotment of 845 acres of land that Infosys had wanted for its development & residential facility, after 6 long years!
c) several infrastructural issues are being addressed, chiefly, repair of roads with tight deadlines as to their completion!!!

One can also discern double speak – which Infosys rarely does, considering Mr. N.R N. Murthy recently went on record with his satisfaction of the progress that the new CM was making. He was quoted as saying ” I am impressed with the new chief minister… He is making the right moves. I have no doubt that he and his team will make Bangalore a better city and Karnataka a better state.”

In the light of the above, perhaps one has to consider: Do these statements from Mr. Pai smack of wee bit arrogance? Are they his personal thoughts or do they reflect the company’s? How much will all this miff C.M Kumaraswamy?

Only time will tell. If the government takes umbrage at Mr. Pai’s statement(s), one can only wonder at what moves Infy will make to placate them.

Ok, so this is one side of the story. The other story really, really ought to worry C.M avare.

Said Mr. Pai ” …five years ago, Bangalore had accounted for 65 per cent of the total IT capacity. Now, it has come down to 25 per cent. This trend is going to accelerate.”

Further developments are awaited from both parties with bated breath!

I can’t wait.


9 Comments so far

  1. usha (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

    Yes, I was also surprised at the sentiments expressed even after Infosys has been given their land by the new government. Actually sounded a bit childish to me – “We did so much and yet, we were not given enough respect, so we will take our business elsewhere, serves you right” kind of attitude. I guess a better thing would be to let action speak more than words.
    Nice one Ravi

  2. BangaloreGuy (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 10:03 pm

    Well the capacity may be much lower but the city is responsible something like 40% of the overall IT revenue.

    I am not as convinced about Kumaraswamy’s govt being good/benevolent as Mr. Murthy is. I’ll wait and watch.

  3. Agent Pal (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 12:17 am

    ” …five years ago, Bangalore had accounted for 65 per cent of the total IT capacity. Now, it has come down to 25 per cent. This trend is going to accelerate.”

    Well the dip in IT capacity is mainly due to the emergence of new IT hubs like Pune, Noida, Hyd. But the IT revenue from Bangalore has been constantly increasing and expected to reach 20 billion by 2010.

    Mr. Mohandas Pai is one guy who is extremely strong with statistical data and can cleverly disguise the statistical data to support his ideas.

    So this snare at the Karnataka government and a pat to the AP govt is just a ploy to get a better deal for Infy in Hyderabad. It would be better if people do not just take all that he has said by its face value and start undermining Bangalore’s IT potential.

    Though Hyd, Pune and Noida are fast developing, the status of Silicon Valley of India can not be snatched from Bangalore.

  4. sln (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 1:20 am


    Happy to see Bangalore getting in to metro blogging, saw a link in Chennai metro blog.

    I doubt the word Contempt would have been used by Mr Pai and it is the interpretation of reporter only. No Indian businessman would be willing to go that far IMHO


  5. Mehak (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 11:57 am

    Well Infosys thinks its the Baap of all IT companies in bangalore…
    n I would like to call Bangalore as the Silicon PotHole of India…

  6. anita (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

    ravi, i’d just like to point out one thing here. ‘contempt’ is a really strong word and as you can see it has been ‘planted’ by the reporter. from the standpoint of business, infosys has always maintained that it will go where it can expand (and it needs space to do so).

    but ‘contempt’? please remember that infosys is headquartered in bangalore and being an astute businessman, (and as SLN points out too in the comment above) it is not something that mr pai would say. i remember reading this report in the papers and he definitely used no such word or implied no such thing.

    many a time, it is the media which contorts the whole issue out of proportion. also, it is the media which ran ‘leading headlines’ implying that the silicon valley of india is shifting to … infosys’ expansion plans in hyderabad does not necessarily translate to ‘contempt’ for bangalore. do be careful before jumping to conclusions based on a ‘manipulated’ report.

    folks who read what you’ve written will also jump to the same conclusions without actually bothering to find out what he really said.

    and on an end note, i really see no harm in hyderabad coming up as another silicon valley. i think it’s a welcome development and one much needed in the country.

  7. Mehak (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 12:18 pm

    what I read on rediff…Mr. Pai also mentioned..
    doesn’t matter…be in Blr or Hyd..its FOR THE COUNTRY..so lets give HYD a chance to run in the race for the Silicon Valley of India.

  8. Ravi (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

    @ Anita,
    I agree with you that ‘contempt’ as a word is too strong to be used per se and no one is likely to use that word, verbatim. But, it is a different matter altogether to discern that someone is contemptous via the expression of their feelings. The media is no fool either when it comes to reading the subtext behind these issues….let us give them their due credit. Having said this, the thrust of my article is Bangalore being given the short shrift by a company – having been born, fed and clothed there – in a manner of speaking – and now having grown up, ends up kicking it in the stomach! One more issue. Business demands growth – be it organic, geographic, markets etc and I have no issues with where Infosys or anybody goes & does it. Homegrown Indian companies are turning transnational and its a matter of pride, for all of us. All this said and done, please be informed that NRNM is my idol and I have named my younger son after him! I have the greatest of respect for Infy. But like no individual can be greater than a company; similarly, no company can be greater than a state, city or a people!

  9. Hari (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

    Great start Ravi. In fact I read in Hyd papers that Mr.Pai had quoted the Karnataka CM as saying that he does not need the IT industry.

    In fact this statement I understand was made in the context that the Karnataka Govt. cannot afford to cater to IT industries at the cost of manufacturing sectors in other parts of Karnataka. In a way I definitely feels that is true. The IT people enjoying all the tax holidays, who the hell do they think can fund the development, if manufacturing industries are not equally promoted.

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