Open For Business In India

In the interest of providing readers with balanced information, I have to react to "Spotlight on India" (Nov. 6).

It may be true that government offices, large public-sector industries, and banks--which are still mostly state-owned--are shut during the numerous "public" holidays. That is by no means the case, however, in the private sector of commerce and industry. There, most offices are open on Saturdays, the holidays granted by the employer number no more than the 7 to 12 you quote for industrialized nations, and annual vacations, when they are given, are generally limited to 10 days or less.

In my regular business dealings with India, I have observed that Indian managers put in at least as many hours as their counterparts in Europe or the U.S., and generally a lot more. Not being able to bank or communicate with a government agency on a given day may be an irritation, but otherwise, it's business as usual, since most of the people are at work.

At a time when the Indian economy is taking off and when worker productivity is increasing rapidly, your article could convey the impression that many of India's people are lazy and lack a work ethic. This view would simply be misinformed.

Ashwani K. Singh


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