he Indian economy is at a delicate stage. While it is true that India is in the global spotlight as the fastest-growing major economy, and our every move is keenly followed and analysed by global investors, it is also right that mounting levels of stressed assets have almost choked the banks’ ability to lend, thwarting the takeoff of new projects. And yet, India Inc is being painted in a poor light and blamed entirely for the NPA mess. Our image is in tatters. The damage is irreparable. No doubt, some sectors of industry are over-leveraged and those like iron and steel, textiles, energy, infrastructure and civil aviation today make up much of the banks’ stressed-asset portfolios. But are all defaulters really wilful ones? At most, a few. What has started is, to put it bluntly, witch-hunting. Trial by media of high-profile cases has created a negative public opinion about India Inc. It is unfair to paint all with the same brush. Thousands of hard-working businessmen are victims of tough economic conditions, which affect other countries too, many of them in recession.
This needs to be said. For any hard-working person, his reputation is everything. Who will knowingly do something to destroy it? As it is, being an entrepreneur in India is a challenging task. On top of that, if a stigma gets attached to it for no fault of theirs, who would dare to tread that path?