NEW DELHI: He's arguably India's best known technocrat, who became a middle-class household name following the success of Delhi Metro Rail
Corporation. But DMRC managing director E Sreedharan now has a new project: to spark a revival of ethics among Indians, especially the leadership. Sreedharan and a group of high-profile citizens want to change Indian attitudes towards corruption and graft. To implement this ambitious plan, they have formed the Foundation of Restoration of National Values (FRNV), with Sreedharan as President.
As a first step, the FRNV will hold a summit starting Tuesday. Lending the Metro chief support is a galaxy of heavyweights: Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, former chief justice of India MN Venkatachaliah, former chief
vigilance commissioner N Vittal and former NCW chairperson Vibha Parthasarathi, among others.
Fed up with Delhi's "lack of morals", Sreedharan said he has seen the city change for the worse. Citizens here have become extremely selfish and have little respect for the law, he said. This, along with India's slipping position on indexes like Transparency International, is what pushed the dyed-in-the-blue technocrat to kickstart a movement of sorts to restore national values and enforce ethical leadership across all walks of life.
Over the next two days, the national crisis of values and the remedy will be addressed by a host of speakers drawn from various walks of life, politicians and teachers, bureaucrats and literary persons. APJ Abdul Kalam, Somnath Chatterjee, Justice KG Balakrishnan, Sheila Dikshit and LK Advani will be the prominent voices at the summit.
"We hope the idea will be given direction at the summit. We are looking at introducing concepts like a national education syllabus for moral values for youngsters and ethical surveillance in the judiciary, public administration and so on. We hope to see change in the next five years," said Sreedharan. Ethical surveillance, read ensuring accountability and integrity at the top levels, will be key to the foundation's work, said FRNV's spiritual guide, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.
Having demonstrated an enviable work culture in the rollout of Delhi's Metro rail system, the Metro chief wants the public to imbibe the values of punctuality, integrity and professionalism. "DMRC, today, is a shining example of a major government project implemented before time, and well within budget. The same values apply to the nation as well," he said.
He will start the drill with Metro's daily commuters on the one hand, and dialogue with bureaucrats and politicians on the other, to simply do their day's work honestly. 'Value champions' are being trained to spread the word, he said.
"There is a lot we have achieved as an organisation but there will always be such a case or two," he said, referring to the recent accident on Vikas Marg. "What marks the company's commitment to a value system is our response to the aberration. Never before has an incriminating report like this been released to the public so early," he asserted.
6 months ago