The union government on Sunday hit back with some vigour at corporate leaders, who for some months now have been issuing 'open letters' demanding faster decision-making, more reforms, and better governance in general.
Four cabinet ministers led the charge for the government – finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, telecom and human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, and law minister Salman Khurshid.
They were speaking at a business-government forum organised in Mumbai by The Economic Times, attended by a host of 350 business heads, including Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, Kumar Mangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla group, Sunil Mittal of Bharti and the Bajaj group's Rahul Bajaj.
The brunt of the government's attack was that corporate India was putting its own interests before those of the country, including maintaining a studied silence on many important public issues.
As might be expected, Jairam Ramesh made the hardest-hitting comments. "What I find very interesting about the Agenda for Renewal (proposed by the organisers) is the responsibility for renewal is external," he said.
He added that the agenda says nothing about corporate responsibility or compliance with environmental laws and regulations. "I would have expected a more balanced agenda which would also look inward," he said.