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Narayana Murthy's 'nothing should be given free' stance sparks controversy; faces netizens' backlash

Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy's recent statement advocating against free services and subsidies has sparked a range of reactions from netizens. Murthy suggested that individuals benefiting from government services and subsidies should contribute back to society for its betterment.

Narayana Murthy's 'nothing should be given free' stance sparks controversy; faces netizens' backlash snt
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First Published Nov 30, 2023, 2:37 PM IST

Software industry icon NR Narayana Murthy on Wednesday emphasised on the idea that "nothing should be given free." Murthy proposed that individuals benefiting from government-provided services and subsidies should actively contribute towards societal improvement. The Infosys co-founder further asserted that adopting a model of compassionate capitalism is essential for a country like India, grappling with poverty, to transform into a prosperous nation.

"When you provide those services, when you provide those subsidies, there must be something in return that they're willing to do. For example, if you say -- I will give you free electricity, then it would have been a very nice thing for the government to have said, but we want to see the percentage attendance in primary schools and middle schools go up by 20 per cent, then only we will give you that," Narayana Murthy said at the 26th edition of Bengaluru Tech Summit 2023.

"I am not against free services being provided. I fully understand, as I also came from a poor background once upon a time. But I think we should expect something in return from those people who received those free subsidies to take a slightly bigger responsibility towards making their own future generation, their own children and grandchildren, better in terms of going to school, you know, performing better. That's what I mean," he added while speaking during the 'Fireside Chat' moderated by Nikhil Kamath, Co-founder, Zerodha at the Tech Summit.

Also read: Infosys loses Senior EVP to rival firm amid Narayana Murthy's call for 70-hour workweek

Narayana Murthy's statement advocating against free services and subsidies has sparked a range of reactions from netizens. Some netizens expressed cynicism, pointing out Murthy's own history of benefiting from subsidised education and tax-free zones.

"After studying at IIT and IIM on subsidized fees and building his Infosys empire on tax-free SEZs and subsidized land, Narayana Murthy is now advocating against subsidies. Subsidies for billionaires is development but when the poor get a benefit, it becomes a freebie/revadi," said one user on X.

Critics highlighted the irony of a successful entrepreneur who amassed wealth through tax incentives and subsidies now advising against such benefits for the less privileged. They questioned the fairness of Murthy's stance, emphasising the importance of free services, particularly for the poor and malnourished.

A user noted, "Nope. Poor people need free food. Otherwise, they will be malnourished, especially kids. It’s easy to comment sitting in AC rooms."

"So says a person whose wealth is 440 crores USD !! Amazing," said a third user.

A fourth stated, "Don't give free advice."

Also read: 'Only 52 hours for...': Comedian's amusing analysis of Narayana Murthy's 70-hour work week tip (WATCH)

Netizens also criticized Murthy for not practicing what he preaches, citing the need for his daughter to declare her wealth and pay taxes in her adopted country. The sentiment echoed accusations of hypocrisy, with some characterising Murthy's comments as heartless given his accumulated wealth.

"After accumulating all the wealth in the world he says this. Such a heartless man. He should first tell his daughter to declare her wealth in her adopted country & pay the taxes there instead of advising us," said another user.

"Mr Narayana Murthy please Teach your daughter for paying taxes to the government , and stop behaving like petty thief," added another user.

The reactions underscored the divide between the perspectives of successful individuals like Murthy and the challenges faced by the economically disadvantaged. Some called for a more empathetic approach, while others dismissed Murthy's advice as detached from the realities of those in need.

Here's a look at some of the other reactions on X:

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