How can businesses avoid exposing themselves to instances of corruption?
VR: The only way to stay clear of corrupt practices is to have some realistic expectations about doing business in India. If you follow the rules and don’t make corrupt payments, it could take up to 12 months to incorporate a company. If you have a business plan to produce revenue in the first year of operation, you’re likely to take shortcuts, which could lead to making corrupt payments.
The C-suite has to really support their management team in India. If it takes 12 months so be it, but let’s do it properly and legally, without making corrupt payments. That requires tremendous staying power and cash flow, but time and time again it has been shown that if you stand your ground first time round, the second time round, you won't be asked to make a corrupt payment.
If business leaders do find themselves having to deal with corrupt practices, what is the best way to handle this situation without damaging prospects for business growth?
VR: If you have a situation where you have made an inadvertent corrupt payment, it’s best to stop the practice immediately and take steps to ensure it does not happen again. Report it to your own internal compliance and legal team so that someone is aware of it and record it properly in your books and financial statements. Don’t disguise it as a payment for something else.