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Noting that issues of corporate governance and responsibility have taken centrestage as the industry grows, President Pratibha Patil asked companies to develop a self-imposed code of conduct. "A set of principles voluntarily agreed to by the business world and corporate houses in India could be developed into a self-imposed code of conduct," Patil said addressing a function to present the fourth Lakshmipat Singhania-IIM, Lucknow National Leadership Awards in New Delhi on Tuesday. She said as industry grows, it needs to reflect on its responsibilities and corporate governance was about working ethically and finding a balance between economic and social goals. "I have often spoken about corruption as a menace in our country that needs to be uprooted. The business world can play an important role in this endeavour," Patil said. She said the purpose of a business should not be just to make profits but also to give back to the society. Patil asked companies, especially those in the communications field, to generate awareness among their customers about the need for getting children immunised, prevent child marriages and female foeticide or reminding them the due date for payment of their taxes. This year's awardees are Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal (Business), Atomic Energy Commission head Anil Kakodkar (Science and Technology) and Akshay Pratishthan Founder Aruna Dalmia (Community Service). In the 'Young Leader' category, the award was given to Subhiksha MD R Subramanian, scientist Atish Dabholkar and National Association for Blind Director Dipendra Manocha. In rural areas and remote regions, Patil said, the corporate network could convey information about weather, prices of commodities as well as the newly-introduced special schemes for the weaker sections. Referring to the global endeavours of Indian industry, she said the 'Made in India' brand should be associated world over with quality, efficiency and assured services. "This would result in a higher growth rate for industry and a better image for India," she said. Patil said all business houses should set up schools and medical and training facilities where their factories are located. She also asked the industrial houses to take action for conservation of energy. "Corporate entities cannot for long remain aloof from the society in which they operate. They need to set up mechanisms to ensure that they give back to society by transforming the quality of life around them," Patil said. Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh said the country needed leaders who have a vision for the future and can devise strategies to achieve it. "India, if it has to achieve its economic potential, has to look to a new generation of leaders," he said.
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