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The day will come when we won’t need a Women’s Special issue. Someday, this country will truly give men and women equal opportunities, when that is reflected both in spirit and in practice. Someday, all women in India will be welcomed at birth by their families, provided with excellent education and infrastructure and will find fulfilling professions in workplaces that value and respect them. Someday, women will not be judged based on their outward appearances, they will walk the streets fearlessly and feel the freedom of an identity that is independent of their being daughters, sisters, wives or mothers. Someday, women in India—and across the world—will feel as if they truly live in a world of which they own an equal half. Until then, we will have Women’s Specials. In fact, we must have Women’s Specials. Because it is imperative for both men and women to recognise, celebrate and support the endeavours, failures and triumphs of those who have dared to break free, disturb the mould and pierce the glass ceiling. The stories in this issue are as varied as the women who tell them: pilots, biologists, lawyers, educators, journalists, bankers, social entrepreneurs. Their journeys are distinct, unique, fraught with a million details we will never know. For to be a woman achiever in India at this particular time in history is no easy feat. But as they prove, Indian women are intelligent, hardworking, creative, innovative and, above all, driven. They will succeed. They will thrive. They will continue to question their circumstances and beat the odds. The future of this country depends on it. The Make in India lion will not reach its potential unless it makes way for the lioness. There will come a time in the future, no doubt, when this issue will seem outdated. Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later. Divia Thani, editor

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13 Movers & Makers

Inspiring women entrepreneurs and leaders who are changing the face of India Inc

78 Defending champions photograph: arjun menon

Women in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force are breaking stereotypes

104 India’s top Women scientists

A showcase of some of the best minds in science and technology in the country today


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The success stories of some of the country’s leading textile manufacturers

What the Make in India initiative has achieved and continues to in its two-year duration. By its key player, Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Commerce and Industry

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Why social entrepreneurship is paramount to a developing nation like ours

Olympian and bronze medal winner Sakshi Malik on what it means to be a sportsperson

Zia Mody on the changing gender ratio in the country’s law firms and her own challenges as an entrepreneur

Pay heed to Nisaba Godrej’s career advice

Indian women are transforming the world of architecture and design, one sensitive solution at a time


Manufacturing companies across the country are encouraging more women on to the shop floor—and why it matters


How going ‘back to the roots’ is the way millennials in India and the world over are achieving wellness


Sudha Murty finds that rural women will go to any lengths to educate their children



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EDITOR Divia Thani Managing Editor Jyoti Kumari art director Himanshu Lakhwani CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITORS Anamika Butalia, Gauri Kelkar Syndication Manager Michelle Pereira Assistant Syndication Coordinator Giselle D’Mello, Dalreen Furtado CONTRIBUTING PHOTO Assistant Yuvan Kumar CONTRIBUTING staff

Divya Mishra, Raj Aditya Chaudhuri, Samira Sood, Smitha Menon, Sushant Kumar CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Amrita Tripathi, Geeta Rao, Kimi Dangor, Meenakshi Radhakrishnan Swami, Pallava Bagla, Padmaparna Ghosh, Poorvi Gupta, Rashmi Bansal, Ria Das, Shunali Shroff, Sukanya Sharma, Varun Vazir CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Anshuman Sen, Arjun Menon, Dia Mehta Bhupal, Pankaj Anand SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS

Adhuna Babhani, Aisha de Sequeira, Anita Dongre, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nisaba Godrej, Puneet Dalmia, Rajan Anandan, Rohini Nilekani, Sakshi Malik, Sania Mirza, Shraddha Sharma, Shaili Chopra, Sudha Murty, Zia Mody PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Arjun Mehra ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Amrita Singh ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR - BRAND SOLUTIONS Poonam Tharar SENIOR PLANNING MANAGER Alisha Goriawala DIGITAL MONETIZATION DIRECTOR Rohit Gandhi AD OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE Vartika Sohal Marketing Director Oona Dhabhar Associate Director - Subscriptions Bindu Nambiar AGM - ADMIN & SUBSCRIPTION OPS Boniface D’souza ASSISTANT MANAGER - PR Amrita Hom Ray HEAD – EVENTS Fritz Fernandes Creative Director - Print Dipti Soonderji Mongia Associate Promotions editor Sherrie A Marker senior Promotions writer Kinjal Vora senior graphic designers Karishma Gupta, Malavika Jadhav ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR CIRCULATION Anindita Ghosh FINANCIAL CONTROLLER Rakesh Shetty Senior accountant Dattaprasanna Bhagwat Accountants Anthony Paulose, Nitin Chavan Digital Director Gaurav Mishra DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR Kiran Suryanarayana AD TECH MANAGER Saket Sinha HEAD – ENTERPRISE IT Prem Kumar Tiwari Production director Amit Navarange SENIOR Production MANAGER Sunil Nayak commercial Production manager Sudeep Pawar Production controller Vijay Salunkhe, Mangesh Pawar

Alex Kuruvilla

Managing Director

Condé Nast India Pvt. Ltd.

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President, Condé Nast International ltd. Printed and published by Arjun Mehra on behalf of Condé Nast India Pvt. Ltd. Printed at Manipal Press Ltd., Plot No. 2/A, Shivalli Village, Industrial Area, Manipal 576 104 and published at 2nd Floor, Darabshaw House, Shoorji Vallabhdas Marg, Ballard Estate, Mumbai 400 001. Editor: Divia Thani Daswani. Distributed by Living Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All prices are correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change. Manuscripts, drawings and other materials must be accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope. However, Condé Nast India cannot be responsible for unsolicited material.

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Chairman and Chief Executive, Condé Nast International ltd.


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P ro f i l e S


ake in India initiative is poised to bring about a transformational shift in building India through an impetus to manufacturing by creating an enabling environment. The idea of Make in India envisages a mindset change from regulation to facilitation by ensuring 'process engineering' and 'ease of doing business'. Launched in October 2014, it is not a mere slogan but a mission at the very core of governance. With the launch of the Make in India campaign, the Government is trying to move manufacturing from the confines of the public sector by encouraging private entrepreneurship. The launch of the Start-up India initiative is a befitting compliment to the Make in India campaign that aims at fostering a culture of innovation and promotes entrepreneurship for the self-employed. The Government is fully committed to creating a business-friendly environment to boost the manufacturing sector, which will push India to a higher growth trajectory. We are committed to increase the share in India's GDP of manufacturing from the current share of 15 percent to 25 percent by 2022. In keeping with the policy, India has identified 25 sectors to show its manufacturing prowess, many of which—including defence, railways and construction—have been opened up. New schemes to benefit exporters in India (such as foreign trade policy and interest equalisation) have also been announced. Additionally, we are working to improve the overall framework for foreign direct investment (FDI), including relaxation of norms and identification of sub-sectors for focus. The Centre is working closely with states across the country in ensuring the ease of doing business, for which as many as 340 additional issues—including those on environmental clearances and export-import documents—are being addressed. A dedicated group of industry experts and government representatives is being set up to expeditiously implement measures to improve India’s innovation ranking. Since the launch of the Make in India campaign, FDI has grown at 46 percent; it has continued to fall drastically around the globe. The Global Innovation Index (GII) Report 2016 already shows India jumping 15 spots to a rank of 66 (from #81 in 2015) after five consecutive years of decline. India now ranks second on innovation quality among middle-income economies, overtaking Brazil. Further, we have recently launched the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy that aims at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship while protecting public interest. The policy envisages building capacities, institutions and awareness. It will encourage research and development for greater innovation and also look at traditional knowledge systems.

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I have been in discussions with high-level officials from countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Australia, China, Japan, Russia, Thailand and others to further strengthen our economic relationships. I have also been meeting many industry representatives to address their concerns on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Our exporters have not had the opportunity to fully exploit the FTAs to their favour. So we are reviewing the FTAs in coordination with industry sectors. Platforms like the Hannover Messe, World Economic Forum in Davos and the IndiaUS CEO Forum have also been excellent ways to showcase powerful Indian delegations comprising leaders in both public and private sectors, and show that we are working together with common purpose. As a woman leader with prior entrepreneurial and business experience, I firmly believe that women are India’s strength, and more must come forward to spearhead change through leadership in business, politics and social arena, but not as proxies of their male relatives. We have to make it easier for more women to become entrepreneurs. Women in rural areas are now coming forward to adopt technology to reach the outer world and use the internet to grow their businesses. In 2014, I had adopted two coastal villages, Pedamainavani Lanka and Toorputallu villages in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh under the Prime Minister’s Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. I see that the situation there is rapidly improving in regards to creating water treatment plants, solving underground sewage issues, implementing an integrated solid waste management programme, training villagers in new techniques in salt farming, and also training women on vermi-compost farming and mushroom cultivation to provide them with alternate sources of income. But it is imperative that those of us who are educated focus not only on academic and professional success, but also take on a major role in social development, in giving back to society, and helping to uplift women less privileged than us. Education is not confined to schools; it must reflect in your conduct and behaviour every day. We are still striving towards a future where women are educated, independent and empowered. It’s no easy task, and it relies on changing the mindsets of both men and women, but it is core to our values and mission.

19/11/16 3:20 pm

Movers & Makers Burgeoning with innovative ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, here are some unique women who are changing the face of India Inc


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p ro f i l e s Manisha Raisinghani Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, LogiNext Solutions

Founder & CEO, Mapmygenome “Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy because she had an almost 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer. How did she know? By mapping her genes,” explains Acharya, whose start-up offers gene-mapping in India. The service leverages DNA testing to predict and pre-empt any health problems. Headquartered in Hyderabad, Acharya’s company offers a range of products and services—Genomepatri (gene analysis for disease prevention), TB diagnostic kits, brain wellness, DNA forensics and BabyMap Carrier screening test (information about any genetic disorders parents-to-be could pass on to their children). In the three years since it was launched, Mapmygenome has serviced over 5,000 customers. “We hope to impact more than 100 million lives by 2030 and to create a unique database for the Indian population to understand the genetic diversity within it,” the IIT-Kharagpur and University of Illinois alumna said to Economic Times in an interview. Poorvi Gupta, SheThePeople.TV

Arpita Ganesh

Founder & CEO, Buttercups Intimates Pvt Ltd A trial by chance pushed Ganesh to bra-strap her way to success. After a bra fitting while on holiday in New York in 2011, she had only one thing on her mind: how to provide the same service for women in India. In 2013, she hit upon the idea—a bra-sizing app. The concept seemed so unlikely to succeed that Ganesh had to turn to crowdfunding to get started. It proved successful—a round of angel investment followed and in 2014, Ganesh launched her luxury lingerie brand. Buttercups is a success partly because of its mixed online and offline presence. The website provides a 15-question quiz to help buyers find the perfect fit, which, Ganesh claims, has a 98 percent success rate. But should some buyers still be sceptical, they can book themselves an appointment with one of the company’s ‘fit specialists’ for a session at the brand’s fitting rooms. While currently only Bengaluru residents can avail of the offline service at two centres, Ganesh has big plans for the future. She says, “We want to open 27 fitting rooms across 12 cities in India.” Ria Das, SheThePeople.TV

buttercups is a success partly because of its mixed online and offline presence

photograph: shutterstock

Anu Acharya

Fixing logistical problems is the overarching goal of LogiNext Solutions. “We have solved logistics problems faced by manufacturers, retailers, e-commerce ventures, couriers, transportation agencies and more,” says Raisinghani, who co-founded the company along with Dhruvil Sanghvi in 2014. The Carnegie Mellon University graduate says, “At university, I met many Indians wanting to make a change in India but they stayed back in the US for better incomes and standards of living. This made me think of how I could bring about a change back home. That’s how LogiNext was born.” Based out of California and Mumbai, the venture optimises the internal workings of service providers to improve their delivery networks and, thus, customer service. This is achieved by building technological infrastructure from scratch. “We invest heavily in resources and R&D. We also have a research partnership with elite universities in the US to bring the best of algorithms to the logistics industry,” she shares. LogiNext Solutions has been acknowledged as the fastest-growing start-up in its segment. Varun Vazir, SheThePeople.TV


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Conde naste_ad_P-01_edit.pdf



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movers & makers Uma Reddy

radha kapoor

The Founder of the Bengaluru-based HiTech Magnetics, Reddy is a handson entrepreneur, as likely to be found attending high-powered meetings as carefully checking every product passing along the assembly line. It is this commitment to detail and product performance that has ensured her company is one of the top suppliers of critical technology products such as circuit boards, transformers and coils to the defence and space industries. Reddy started HiTech Magnetics in 1984, but not before encountering her fair share of bureaucratic hurdles, which were a common cause of delays at the time. Initial contracts from multinational giants such as General Electric (GE) and Schneider ensured that HiTech Magnetics got a strong start. Today, the 30-year-old company has over 40 members manufacturing defence and electronic parts for India’s largest public sector companies including BHEL, Bharat Electronic and ISRO. That’s a long way for an SME that Reddy began with just three employees. For her, the focus on encouraging entrepreneurship in the country through initiatives like Make in India has a special significance. “The Made in India tag makes me very proud. I established my business during the Licence Raj, when it took nine months to get started. We have come a long way since then,” she says. The defencedriven supplier industry remains male dominated but a lot has changed in the last two decades. “At the beginning we were just a couple of women but now things have changed, and more are part of India’s manufacturing story.” RD

“It fills me with hope that we have the ability to change the tech ecosystem and provide greater opportunities for women entrepreneurs,” says Kapoor, who set up ISDI Parsons Mumbai in collaboration with the acclaimed New York-based design school. She is impressed with the wide range of talent she sees in women at her institute: “In our generation, there’s been a paradigm shift—more and more people are making quirky career choices.” From a founding batch of 30 students, ISDI now has over 1,100 students across all its courses. In 2015, the institute partnered with WPP, the largest group for communication services in the world, to launch the ISDI WPP School of Communication. ISDI also runs a collaborative programme on entrepreneurial education with the US-based Babson College for small and medium enterprises. Kapoor, the daughter of Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, is invested in start-ups and owns the Delhi franchise from the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). She encourages the idea of homegrown brands and believes in the Make in India concept. “Through this initiative, we are attempting to create designers, innovators and entrepreneurs of the next generation. This is being achieved by imparting world-class, design-led education to students, which will, in turn, contribute to Make in India technology, products, services and business successes.” SC

Founder & Executive Director, Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) Parsons

Founder, HiTech Magnetics & Electronics Pvt Ltd

“More women are part of india’s manufacturing story than when we began”

meher pudumjee

Chairperson, Thermax A hard hat, a walk-through the shop floor, tough questions and a big smile— that’s how you would find Pudumjee going about her business at the Pune factory of Thermax. She helms a 5,418-crore engineering company that provides sustainable solutions to the energy and environment sectors. It manufactures energy-efficient products for heating, cooling, water and waste management, and is involved in producing large-scale industrial boilers and water-treatment plants as well. The Pune-headquartered company has a presence in 75 countries across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Russia, the US and Africa. “We have always come out with innovative products and solutions that help our customers conserve energy and preserve the environment. Manufacturing has been an important ingredient, whether made in-house or through our supply-chain partners,” Pudumjee says. She believes that Make in India is a work in progress. “There are some world-class Indian products and services (like IT), but in order to enhance manufacturing in India, we need good infrastructure— reliable power, good roads, etc. We also need to reform our labour laws and encourage the use of quality manpower in manufacturing.” Shaili Chopra,


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Radha Kapoor, founder and executive director, Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) Parsons

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Professional wrestler Medal winner at the Rio Olympic Games 2016



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hen I started out, my family was very supportive of my career choice, even though many others were not. My parents were told, “She’s a girl, she shouldn’t be wrestling.” But once the medals started coming in, those voices were silenced. People who believe you can’t make a livelihood out of sports are wrong. In fact, it is possible to have a better career in sports than one you can have with a regular education. All you need is a fighting spirit and a drive to do something for your country. A sport is a medium through which one can travel to countries across the world, raise the Indian flag and bring honour to the nation. No other profession can do so and generate that kind of national pride quite like sports does. When I started wrestling at my centre in 2004, I was just one of four-five girls who trained. That number, however, is slowly and steadily rising. After the Commonwealth Games and now the Rio Olympics, there has been such an increase in the numbers that all the girls can’t even train together in a single batch at the centre. My biggest dream has come true at such a young age but my journey is only just beginning. There are many competitions to participate in, many games to play, many matches left to fight. For as long as I physically can, I will continue to be associated with wrestling, and focus on increasing the number of women wrestlers in India. My plan is to eventually open an academy for wrestling to train and teach young enthusiasts and help them hone their skills right from scratch. Apart from just being important for a country’s health, it is imperative for us to encourage sports as a nation as it helps build character and mental strength. Playing isn’t only about winning. With the trophies and medals come losses and injuries. It drains you mentally and physically every day but helps mould you into a better human being. Nothing comes easily. That is a lesson that you learn very early on as a sportsperson. The greatest feeling for any player to have is to represent the country at a national level. The entire country has its hopes pinned on you for a medal. It’s a lot of pressure but also a huge honour to be in that position. At that moment, all you can do is play your best game and fight your heart out. No words can describe the sensation of standing on the Olympics podium and watching the Indian flag being raised.

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movers & makers Rachel Bali

Creator & Founder, KrantiKālī

Nidhi Agarwal

Founder & CEO, Kaaryah Lifestyle Solutions She was rejected by 113 investors but when Agarwal found one, it was Ratan Tata. “I have always been a firm believer of ‘convince or get convinced’. This ideology has kept me going strong so far,” says Agarwal, who founded Kaaryah, an online store that manufactures women’s western wear in all sizes. The funding from Tata came in June 2015, followed by another round, a few months later, from TV Mohandas Pai (Manipal Global Education’s chairman). Armed with experience working for MNCs such as Bain & Company and Honeywell India, Agarwal turned entrepreneur in 2013. Her Gurgaon-based venture, which started with two people, has grown to a team of over 30 and sells 200 pieces a day. Agarwal says that, for her, Make in India has taken on a far deeper meaning since she began running production lines. “I see the effort that goes into making a product or service available. Performance is linked to maintaining the production cycle,” she says. Her ambition is to build Kaaryah as a ‘Made in India’ brand, catering to the wardrobe needs of women of all body types, across the world. The Kellogg School of Management alumna’s early struggles have made her a believer in Eleanor Roosevelt’s comment: “A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water”. SC

Founded in April this year by Bali, KrantiKālī focuses on spreading awareness about gender equality through gender-inclusive performance art, theatre and film. The organisation covers a wide range of issues from sexual harassment and eve-teasing to violence against women and LGBT rights. Currently, its Instagram feed is focused on The Liminal Lens, an ongoing project curating the current gender discourse in India. Although the series is just a few months old, it has already garnered a following of more than a thousand. Bali says, “Once completed, we will hold an exhibition to make the discussion more accessible.” Other initiatives include an ongoing gender-sensitisation campaign, ‘Say No Accept No’, and ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ on Nārivad, which Bali refers to as a young feminist focus group. Part of the programme involves participants narrating their stories. “The majority of participants in the programme’s first phase are illiterate women and girls. The spoken word serves as a bridge, connecting a wide range of experiences from different worlds across India,” she explains. An anthropology student, the 23-year-old was inspired to create her Delhi-based start-up after a stint in the social sector. With seven volunteers already part of the team and an active presence in Mumbai, KrantiKālī is growing, slowly but steadily. Her venture’s long-term goal is to help women and young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds attain and sustain economic empowerment and independent thinking. AT

“OUR Long-term goal is to help women and young girls attain and sustain economic empowerment and independent”

Anu Sridharan

Co-founder & CEO, NextDrop Sridharan is attempting to solve Karnataka’s water crisis. Her tool? With an SMS? How does it work? NextDrop alerts citizens in the Hubli-Dharwad region about when they’ll receive water, if there will be a delay and whether any pipe blockage is likely to affect them. The mobile network system, designed by her, serves as a medium for valve men (who measure water levels in reservoirs) and engineers to provide information to customers. Over 25,000 households pay 10 every month to receive notifications. “This also offers utility boards the tools to better manage and track leakages in water supply, based on consumer feedback and complaints,” Sridharan explains. According to her, India loses 30 to 70 percent of water through mismanagement and this system “helps keep track”. The 26-yearold recalls how it all began as a college project. She, along with co-founder Emily Kumpel, visited Hubli as part of a research project with the University of California. Of what she witnessed, she says, “Either people would wait for hours for water, or a huge amount of water would get wasted through unattended pipes that were left open. Solving that problem was a huge motivation for me.” The duo came up with the mobile-based solution; the pilot project won them initial funding from Knight Foundation. The success of this 2010-established venture is thanks to its mobile system, which Sridharan describes as “adding superpower to old infrastructures.” RD


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Chairperson, Infosys Foundation

hose of us who live in the metros have some fixed ideas about rural India: either we imagine village life to be nice and easy, with little pressure or stress to lead to high blood pressure and depression, or we believe that villagers are lazy and don’t wish to work hard. Some romanticise the beauty, the greenery and waterfalls and dhabas. Others don’t think about rural India at all. Like a blind man touching an elephant, all these ideas are both true and false. There are different ways people define what constitutes a village—the size, the population, whether it’s agriculture-based, the income levels—but the three most important elements missing in rural India today are connectivity, exposure and opportunities. Even when people are talented and hardworking, the low disposable income in the area affects spending habits and it’s difficult for them to make money. The power shortage is also crippling—even when electricity is supplied for free, it is provided for only about three hours a day, making it impossible for factories to run efficiently. It’s the same with water. And quality education is hard to find; the infrastructure isn’t in place and teachers at vernacular schools are not motivated. How can a place thrive without these factors? In the 20+ years I have been working in rural India, I have seen progress and improvement in certain pockets, especially in states like Karnataka. There’s no absolute poverty anymore—there’s usually basic healthcare, post offices and schools. And people had a vision for a better life. They were willing to travel to cities to find work, even if it was in a faraway Udipi restaurant; they sent money home, demanded education for their children (who have gone on to become professionals). It’s imperative for villagers to be practical, to realise that a single acre of ancestral land cannot feed over a certain amount of people, to understand how to enrich and change their lives. If they decide to stay in the village, they must find other ways, in addition to farming, to earn. We have taken up a variety of activities in rural India—from conducting health awareness camps and street theatre to providing girls with academic scholarships and arranging midday meals and clean drinking water. But there is still so much work to be done. I’ve found that women in the villages are more hardworking than men, they will go to any lengths to provide education to their children. They make excellent managers since they’re used to multitasking and balancing work and family. I remember one example of a timid woman, who was married to a dominating man. She participated in a self-help group and pawned her gold chain for a loan to buy a buffalo. She cared for it, sold the milk, bought more buffaloes and eventually ran a dairy. Her husband completely changed and listened to everything she said. She became bold, assertive, even headed a mahila mandal. It’s a great story but it took her 20 years to reach this stage in life. The sex workers I’ve worked with were completely beaten up when I met them—today they know their rights, they received loans to buy buffaloes or goats or carts to sell vegetables, their kids have become nurses, police officers, even engineers. What do the people of rural India need to live better lives? They need good leaders. They don’t need advice, they need compassion, from people who will take the time to understand their real problems and guide them towards better work. They have to make their own decisions, their own mistakes. They’re intelligent, they can take responsibility for themselves. I deal only with women and we provide loans without any guarantees—they own nothing after all—and I’ve never been cheated. These are god-fearing women, who need not just money but also compassion and encouragement. It’s important to be sympathetic, to use kind words when speaking to them, to really try and connect with them. They have a drive to do better—we just have to fuel it.



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18/11/16 6:46 pm

movers & makers hasina kharbhih Founder, Impulse Social Enterprises Kharbhih lives by the motto: “Trade, not aid, can change the lives of people”. After spending nearly 23 years fighting the evils of child trafficking in the Northeast, she decided to change her approach. “I realised you cannot stop human trafficking unless women at the grass-roots level become economically self-sufficient,” she says. So, the social activist turned social entrepreneur. She enlisted the help of her brother’s fruit- and spice-export company, Sen Kharbhih, to market textile, bamboo, cane and silk articles crafted by her network of artisans. The initiative received great response and prompted Kharbhih to scale up operations. In 2010, Impulse Social Enterprises was founded. In the same year, under its aegis, with a capital of approximately US$1,500 ( 1 lakh), she launched Empower, a brand that sells products created by artisans from the Northeast. The Shillong-based venture currently has an annual turnover of a little over US$10,000 ( 7 lakh) and is likely to break even in the current financial year. Most Empower products—including handmade cushion covers, scarves, totes, string bags, etc—are available in a number of stores in Shillong and at Jangfai, retail outlet located in the Guwahati airport. However, a major chunk of the business comes through corporate networks and e-commerce websites. Kharbhih believes the Make in India initiative needs to expand further to the Northeast, as part of the government’s Act East Policy that focuses on the development of the region. “Like Empower, Make in India should focus on traditional skill sets of the region, such as weaving,” she adds. “We need a strong market linkage to facilitate economic growth of the people.” PG

“Make in India should focus on traditional skill sets of the northeast region such as weaving”

karishma grover

Assistant Winemaker, Grover Zampa Vineyards Quality with an attention to detail is Grover’s motto. It is vital, considering she works with winemakers from across the world to produce some of the brand’s award-winning wines. She says, “We have several foreign consultants who help us improve our products. Communication and awareness of international markets and trends help us bring in new ideas and innovation.” Four years after Grover joined the family business in 2008, it merged with another Indian winery Vallée de Vin and formed Grover Zampa Vineyards with vineyards in Nandi Hills, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, and in Nashik. In 2015, the company saw a growth of over 20 percent, selling over 2,00,000 cases. Grover says that despite having graduated from the University of California, she always intended to return home “because this is where I want to be and this is how I want to run my business”. Her decision to move back and make in India has clearly paid rich dividends, with the team winning 57 awards in the last two years alone. The Art Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014 won in the international category for Best Sauvignon Blanc at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Sukanya Sharma, SheThePeople.TV

“Communication and awareness of international markets and trends help us bring in new ideas and innovation” 22

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Karishma Grover, assistant winemaker, Grover Zampa Vineyards

19/11/16 7:30 pm

The First Lady of Healthcare

In conversation with Preetha Reddy—Vice Chairperson of the Apollo Hospitals Group, Asia’s leading integrated healthcare provider—we discover how and why the conglomerate embodies the Make in India spirit


Thanks to her unwavering focus on driving innovation through technology, the Apollo Hospitals Group was bestowed with the 2016 Microsoft Health Innovation Awards for the use of analytics in managing and controlling infectious diseases

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orn out of the determination to bring world-class healthcare to India, the Apollo Hospitals Group started out in 1983 as a 150-bed hospital and ever since, with patient centricity at its core, it has built its presence across key touch points of the healthcare spectrum and has emerged as the foremost integrated healthcare provider in Asia. Today, it operates 69 medical facilities with over 9,700 beds. The clinicians and caregivers here offer advanced medical care in over 55 specialties to patients who come in from 121 countries. Spearheading this healing journey is Preetha Reddy, an elegant example of a woman in a leadership role. A person to reckon with, she is responsible for giving millions of people access to advanced medical care. As a part of the group’s digital transformation, she has championed the strategic deployment of analytics. Thanks to her unwavering focus on driving innovation through technology, the Apollo Hospitals Group was bestowed with the 2016 Microsoft Health Innovation Awards for the use of analytics in managing and controlling infectious diseases. But that’s not all. She has also contributed to the world of medical education and works with industry bodies and the Indian Government to advance policy decisions on healthcare issues. During times of natural calamities in the country, Reddy has facilitated prompt medical assistance and rehabilitation. She has even pioneered several social service initiatives to better the health conditions of Indian women. In a discussion with us, she reveals how. HOW DOES THE APOLLO HOSPITALS GROUP REPRESENT

THE TRUE ESSENCE OF MAKE IN INDIA? Our history stands testimony to the fact that India was renowned as the land of healing. Today, the prowess of the Indian doctor has earned acclaim beyond our shores and the country has been attracting millions of international patients, seeking compassionate and high quality medical care at a cost effective price. The Apollo Hospitals Group has introduced several ventures that connect India’s healthcare industry to the world. For instance, Apollo MedSkills—a joint venture between the group and NSDC (Govt of India)—imparts job specific skills so that the Indian healthcare professional becomes a part of the global workforce. We also have Medvarsity—India’s first e-learning venture for medical professionals. Affiliated to reputed healthcare institutions of the world, it draws students from 20 countries every year. You can also consult our doctors, store your medical reports and book preventive check-ups from anywhere in the world via AskApollo—an online healthcare platform, which is your gateway to our entire network. WHICH ARE THE HEALTHCARE INNOVATIONS BY THE APOLLO HOSPITALS GROUP THAT ARE MAKING A MARK GLOBALLY? We’ve introduced Precision Oncology that comprises molecular tests to enable precise diagnosis, therapy management and recurrence monitoring for different cancers. This includes Liquid Biopsy tests (we’ve developed one for brain tumours), which comprises non-invasive blood tests using ultra-sensitive and specific molecular biomarkers that are derived from cancer cells. Liquid

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“As a socially cognizant organisation, we have undertaken major initiatives to fulfil India’s colossal rural healthcare needs. One of them includes Nationwide Health Camps for Women. 9,000 doctors from across Apollo Hospitals have pledged their time to a cause that’s directed specifically towards expecting mothers.” - Preetha Reddy, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group

Biopsy is one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2015 (MIT Tech Review). We’ve also given India its first APHC DNA+ genetic test that analyses and assesses the genetic predisposition for over 60 conditions including cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer. Apollo Hospitals Group, along with Sapien BioSciences, has also incubated India’s largest bio-bank. We even have Stemcyte India—a joint venture with StemCyte Inc. USA, which is focused on cord blood banking. Today, Cervical Cancer is the most frequently occuring cancer amongst Indian women. We are working with innovators internationally to bring in a cutting-edge screening technology to identify it in its early stages. With all these innovations, we have made an indelible mark on the global scene. THE APOLLO HOSPITALS GROUP HAS A LONG LIST OF MILESTONES. WHICH ONES COME TO MIND? There are so many, it’s difficult to pin them down. Off the top my head, I can say that we have performed over 7.5 lakh major surgeries, 1 million minor procedures, 12 million preventive health checks and have earned the trust of over 45 million people since our launch in 1983. These numbers go up every single day. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE APOLLO FOUNDATION? In keeping with the founder’s mission, the group will continue to create meaningful interactions with people of our society and help enhance their quality of life in every way it can. As part of our anthem goes, “To strive to heal this world from disease, we’ll work to find new ways.” HOW HAS THE APOLLO HOSPITALS GROUP WORKED TOWARDS THE WELL-BEING OF WOMEN? As a socially cognizant organisation, we have undertaken major initiatives to fulfil India’s colossal rural healthcare needs. One of them includes Nationwide Health Camps for Women. 9,000 doctors from across Apollo Hospitals have pledged their time to a cause that’s directed specifically towards expecting

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mothers. In keeping with the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s direction, these camps are conducted on the 9th of every month with the support of our nurses and clinicians. WHICH SOCIAL INITIATIVE IS CLOSEST TO YOUR HEART? For rural development, our focus has been on providing holistic care for the entire community. Total Health—a non-profit organisation— was set up in Thavanampalle Mandal, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. From providing safe drinking water, extending sanitation, and setting up of nutrition and vocational training centres to having mobile medical units, promoting yoga, conducting health checks and running a primary school called Apolla Isha Vidhya Niketan— in collaboration with the ISHA Foundation—this initiative has impacted more than 70,000 lives. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THE SACHi FOUNDATION? Saving A Child’s Heart Initiative (SACHi) was established in 2002 under the aegis of the founder of the Apollo Hospitals Group, Dr Prathap C Reddy, and is presently one of Asia’s largest voluntary organisations, dedicated to paediatric cardiac care and child heart surgery for the underprivileged. SACHi has touched over 50,000 lives and continues to heal children who do not have access to world-class medical facilities. WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR THE APOLLO HOSPITALS GROUP? In the future, the focus will be on fast tracking the new hospitals to profitable operations. We will also increase our presence in the Indian healthcare retail space and have calibrated expansion plans for standalone pharmacies. By setting benchmarks in clinical outcomes, technology and practices, expanding our oncology presence, increasing research cardiology and neurosciences, and introducing technologically advanced methods, the Apollo Hospitals Group will continue to dominate India’s healthcare industry. For more information visit www.apollohospitals.com

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movers & makers Ajaita Shah

Founder & CEO, Frontier Markets

Pranshu Bhandari

Co-founder, CultureAlley Every day, more than a million people use the Hello English app, created by CultureAlley, a Jaipur-based start-up that is the brainchild of Bhandari and her husband Nishant Patni. “We want to make English education accessible, affordable and effective by bringing world-class education to people’s handsets, no matter where they come from or who they are,” explains Bhandari. The Hello English app was launched in 2014 to teach English in 12 Indian language. Bhandari asserts that the app has over 19 million users at last count as well as a presence in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and in the Middle East. The app also occupies the top spot for learning and speaking English on the Indian Google Play Store. “Users have called and told us how they’ve secured better jobs or taught others after learning from the app or the website,” she says. Bhandari admits having learned the power of Make in India the hard way. “When we started, we were addressing the West. But when we built a product in India, for India, our growth shot up.” PG

“We want to make English education accessible, affordable and effective by bringing it to people’s handsets”

Ananya Birla

Founder, Chairperson & Director, Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd

“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes,” says Birla, who began working at the age of 17 and set up Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd in 2013 in Mumbai. Her idea was to provide small loans to rural entrepreneurs, especially in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and to empower women in the process. “I started from scratch,” recalls the daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam and Neerja Birla. Building the business didn’t come easy to her, Birla says, and the biggest challenge was “starting at 17 in a very risky business and having to prove myself to myself”. Now, the microfinance institution has grown to a 700-strong team with over one lakh active clients and a Gross Loan Portfolio of almost US$24 million ( 159.5 crore). This Oxford University graduate’s objective is to use technology to streamline loans. “I want to change the way money is perceived and create a powerhouse of a cashless system to those who require it the most, in turn stimulating economic growth,” Birla says. According to her, one must be passionate but “not without a strong revenue model.” Today, she’s getting into the e-commerce area, and is proud of the power of Indian brands. “My home country is becoming a big player in the global market”. SC

The belief that every household deserves access to goods and services that enhance health, wealth and productivity is the driving force behind Shah’s Jaipur-based venture. She aims to address the alarming number of casualties among disadvantaged villagers, caused by hazardous cooking and lighting practices. Apart from providing access to the right products, her company also educates locals about the benefits of using clean-energy products like solar lights and smokeless stoves (as opposed to kerosene lamps) and trains them in utilising them properly. Within five years, over 20,000 products have been sold in 16 districts across Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Shah aims to reach 50 million households in the next five. Her company’s extensive network and widespread reach is a result of its unique distribution model. It partners with local entrepreneurs selling cleanenergy products under the brand Saral Jeevan. An after-sales facility addresses technical issues, fostering a trust-based relationship with locals to eventually encourage them to adopt clean-energy practices. SS

Ajaita shah’s venture educates villagers about the benefits of using cleanenergy products


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Fashion designer Founder, House of Anita Dongre



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oday in contemporary India, the push-and-pull of development in motion is reminiscent of the great ‘Sagar Manthan’ from Hindu mythology. While the quest for ‘Amrit’ continues, the turmoil is forever changing how we and the world are viewing the effect of it on Indian arts, crafts and culture. The parallels here are striking—modern India with its mobile and tech revolution, where villagers have access to the world in their palms and dhoti-kurta-clad craftsmen and women are using computers, mobile phones and Whatsapp to communicate with customers in cities afar. Yet, at the same time, their children are rejecting traditional attire in favour of cheap but ‘modern’ polyester pant-shirts and Punjabi suits and replacing bhakri and dal with packaged foods and drinks. A village lifestyle that was once in harmony with its environment and the source of unique heirloom crafts such as Ahir embroidery, Patola weaving, Ajrakh printing, Rabari jackets and jewellery is slowly but surely in decline. This is the unfortunate story of craft communities nationwide. Traditional craft trades are no longer desirable to the next generation, as they prefer to work in offices over sitting at the loom. And who can blame them—the back-breaking work combined with poor wages and a lack of pride in the craft as well as societal pressures of perceived ‘modern upward mobility’ are a reality to be reckoned with. In the hurtle towards progress, falling on the wayside are the cultural heritage and crafts of smaller marginal communities from the Northeast and the tribal belts of Madhya Pradesh. And most galling is the utter neglect of so many of our architectural monuments, which are masterpieces of skilled artisanry and craftsmanship of the highest order. To me, the joy of travel—exploring local food, culture, architecture and cultural interactions that enrich a society—is the story I like to tell. The diversity of our country and the subtle nuances in each and every state and region is what makes India the most creatively exciting nation in the world. We must hold on to this passionately. The way I see it, Make in India is about regaining the lost story, restoring a fierce pride in our heritage, protecting and preserving our crafts, while ensuring the changes of modern India trickle down to our craft communities that are most vulnerable. The West has gone full circle from valuing factory productions to appreciating handmade and slow manufacturing. The skilled craftsman is once again in the spotlight. Instead of letting the West define our story through their lenses, we need to take control of our craft narrative. Modern India, in my opinion, is about ‘girls education’, of not having to walk 5km for drinking water in villages, about access to computers and mobile phones and employment at fair wages. It’s as much about a small-town girl retaining pride in her traditional attire rather than aping the city girl as it is about having access to craft trade schools such as those set up by couture houses Bottega Veneta, LOEWE and Brunello Cucinelli. It is about a balance between globalisation, tech advances and retaining the best of our heritage, culture and craft. And this is the Make in India story that we need to bring to the global stage from New York and London to our own cities.

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movers & makers

Founder & CEO, Robotix Learning Solutions

Ameera Shah

MD & CEO, Metropolis Healthcare

“The process of giving blood for tests was daunting for many customers, so we thought of making it easy for them,” Shah explains the goal of her family-run chain of pathology labs. Her ambition—scaling up as well as simplifying the process of giving blood for testing and making the experience as pleasant as possible. The Mumbai native quit her job in the US to join her father’s business at the age of 21. What started as a single laboratory set up in Mumbai by her father Sushil Shah, clocking in a little over US$1 million ( 7 crore) annually, is today an almost US$90million company ( 600 crore) with more than 25 partnerships in India, south Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The 37-year-old says, “Make in India resonates with me, since I returned to build my own business here.” SS

This Chennai-headquartered firm—with an office in the US— harnesses innovative robotic technology from around the world to design education programmes for primary and secondary schools. “Our programmes provide a fun, hands-on learning experience and helps develop skills that are important in the 21st century,” says Suchindran, who has a PhD in neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She leads the technical strategy and product team to develop educational robots, while Prasad, who has a master’s degree from Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, handles the operations. She also leads social initiatives and works on product strategy, among other responsibilities. The duo has set up @IndianGirlsCode to make STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects accessible and inspirational to young underprivileged girls. “We are trying to show the real-world application of STEM and robotics,” says Suchindran, to inspire young girls to code and become innovators. In July last year, the company collaborated with The Lighthouse Project, a Ford Motor Co Pvt Ltd, India initiative, to teach coding and robotics to 50 underprivileged children at the Kannagi Nagar School, Chennai. SC

Chiki Sarkar

Co-founder& Publisher, Juggernaut

This innovative mobile publishing app, Sarkar says, came about to directly talk to readers and make original content accessible at cheap prices (starting at 10). “My partner Durga [Raghunath] and I have managed to achieve a lot since we launched in April 2016—our app currently has 1,40,000 downloads, we publish a number of books, with one big bestselling title (Indian Superfoods by Rujuta Diwekar) already, and have signed on some exciting writers and personalities. The list includes established writers such as Arundhati Roy and Suketu Mehta as well as firsttimers like Sunny Leone and Sourav Ganguly,” she says. Sarkar, the former publisher of Penguin Random House India, started her career with Londonbased Bloomsbury Publishing, which shaped her approach to the field. “My first boss, Alexandra Pringle, taught me everything that’s important—to be brave, have fun, champion writers and throw a great dinner party.” From her vantage point, Sarkar weighs in on the Make in India tag: “In the context of books, it’s very clear to me. The biggest hits in India are home-grown. Indian readers demand made in India. And that’s where all the growth and excitement will be seen.” Amrita Tripathi, SheThePeople.TV

“In the context of books, The biggest hits in India are homegrown. Indian readers demand made in India. And that’s where all the growth excitement will be seen.”

photograph: bisual studio/stocksy

Aditi Prasad COO Deepti Rao Suchindran


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photographS: sIGne VIlstruP

chiki sarkar, co-founder and publisher, Juggernaut

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p ro f i l e s Founder & CEO, Wingreens Farms

A farm-to-market company, Srivastava’s Gurgaon-based Wingreens Farms was the first to launch packaged and branded hummus, Greek yoghurt dips, fresh salsa, basil pesto and other products in India. For her, though, the reason behind this was “to marry the concepts of social good and environmental sustainability with high profitability in the field of agriculture”. Using modern agriculture techniques, Wingreens rents land from farmers and invites them to work together and manage the farm. “We pay them additionally for this, which gives them a higher predictable monthly income,” she says. Established in 2011, the company was the first to start an end-to-end cold chain across various cities in the country. “Since the farmer does not have cold storage or transportation, one of the biggest impediments to selling fresh farm produce was time. We set up a cold chain which starts at the farm, moves to processing units across various cities and finally reaches city stores. For instance, basil harvested at the farm in the morning is processed into pesto that same afternoon, packed and transported across the country within a day through our cold chain,” she explains. The Made in India tag resonates with her effort. “It is what helps us empower the underprivileged while showcasing their ability to produce globally competitive products,” she says. Currently operating in Haryana, Srivastava intends to scale up the operations and expand to other parts of the country. SS

“MAKE IN INDIA MUST empower the underprivileged while showcasing their ability to produce globally competitive products”

Ashni Biyani

Whole Time Director, Future Consumer Enterprises “Shop floors were my childhood playgrounds,” says Biyani, who literally grew up in a Big Bazaar store, while her father Kishore Biyani was expanding the business and with that, the retail sector in India. Today, she is the director of Future Group’s food and FMCG arm, which owns and markets multiple brands such as Kara, Nilgiris and Golden Harvest. Last year, less than 10 years since Biyani joined the business, the all-food enterprise reported a turnover of over US$271 million ( 1,800 crore). However, the scale and size doesn’t come at the cost of innovation. “For us, design is not just that of a product or service but also of thoughts and ideas to innovate and create,” says Biyani. In her opinion, Make in India is the backbone of the enterprise. She says, “Previously, the tag would probably just signify the heritage of the country but it has changed to embody trust, confidence, respect and most significantly, the coming of age of a superpower-in-the-making.” SC

Rajshree Pathy

Promoter/Chairperson & MD Rajshree Sugars & Chemicals Limited (RSCL) Pathy took charge of RSCL when she was 32 and has diversified the company across segments such as biotechnology, travel and design education, apart from the core business. “We were a US$8.8 million ( 60-crore) textile business when my father died in an accident in 1990. Today, as a group we exceed US$222 million ( 1,500 crores) in revenues in sugar, green energy, ethanol, textiles, agri-bio solutions, real estate and automobile retail,” she says. Pathy gave up her childhood dream to become an artist and focused on expanding the family business in Tamil Nadu. She successfully accomplished that and more, becoming the first female President of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) from 2004— 2005, and of the South Indian Sugar Mills from 2007—2009. Pathy admits it’s time we celebrate domestic growth stories. “Make in India has created an awareness for Indian producers and global investors look at the country as a powerhouse for the manufacturing and services industries—not only for exports but also for the growing domestic market,” Pathy says. Her new avatar as the founder of the India Design Forum has the feisty entrepreneur exploring her passion for design and art. “I believe India’s next wave of growth will be from a designand innovation-led economy. We are naturally creative and this government recognises the need to create the infrastructure required to make this happen,” she notes. SC

photograph: Ankur Chaturvedi/Verve

Anju Srivastava


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21/11/16 7:47 pm


VP, Google, Southeast Asia and India aking in India—and making for India—are key to entrepreneurial success today. Opportunities are everywhere. Even with the current sentiments around funding constraints in the start-up ecosystem, it is important to remember that we are still very early in this journey. To create real successes, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to deeply understand the issues that consumers in India struggle with and to come up with solutions to these problems. There are massive opportunities for innovation. For instance, we have serious challenges in transportation; Ola and Uber are addressing part of this problem with on-demand taxis. RedBus simplified a uniquely Indian predicament by allowing customers to purchase bus tickets online from over 5,000 operators. Several hundred million Indians travel on trains every year but food on trains is not of the best quality—TravelKhana solves this problem and is growing rapidly. While these companies are doing their best, we need many more to really solve India's challenges in transport and urban congestion. On the flip side, matrimonial sites like Shaadi.com have been successful in India but dating apps haven’t really taken off yet. Weddings is a US$40 billion ( 2,67,900 crore approximately) industry in India and startups like WeddingZ are building entire businesses around specific pain points. Over the past several years, many Indian start-ups have looked to the US or China to create similar products for India. This can work sometimes—but not most of the time. India is in a different phase, both economically and culturally. There are a billion opportunities here itself and entrepreneurs must understand the needs of consumers and businesses to create products/ solutions that address those needs. India is a giant market. However, you can’t overspend on acquiring customers. Indians are extremely value conscious but you can’t discount your way to growth. You have to create a distinct, differentiated offering and develop capital-efficient ways to drive growth. Make in India is all about creating products. In my view, software will soon power everything. Consider self-driving cars— in a few years, most cars will have this capability and software will become the most important part of the automotive business. Software is part of everything that’s going to be manufactured in the future. There are only 50,000 mobile developers in India today. At Google, we are training and certifying two million Android developers over the next three years—imagine the impact they can have, the number of apps and jobs that’ll be created. With software, we can ‘Make smartly in India’, which is crucial. Creating employment is all about boosting entrepreneurship. This government understands and has been proactive in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship—whether it’s creating the 10,000 crore fund of funds for start-ups and facilitating investment from within India instead of having to raise capital abroad or starting incubation centres and coworking spaces to encourage collaboration. The T-Hub in Hyderabad is truly world-class. The government-funded ‘India Stack’ provides infrastructure that will enable thousands of new ‘first in the world’ businesses. However, there are several areas we need to do more—we need greater investment in R&D, improvement in the quality of education in computer sciences and engineering and continue to make it easier to do business here. While there’s much left to do, it’s up to entrepreneurs to make the big moves. My advice is simple: the only way to become an entrepreneur is simply to go out and become one. Whether you work at a big or small company, nothing will teach you the skills you need as an entrepreneur—building a product, convincing people to invest in you, to join you, to stick with you, making payroll every month, to keep going, to stay resilient, focused and driven. All entrepreneurs—men and women—must focus on their ability to communicate their energy, passion and drive every day. First build an amazing product or service, one that your users love, then you have to sell yourself—and your company—all the time. Be visible, build relationships, get your message out there. The time is now.



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18/11/16 6:29 pm

p ro f i l e s Priyanka Gill

Sreowshi Sinha

“At POPxo, we have created a safe, fun space for Indian women,” says Gill. She started out with eStylista, a high-end webzine in the UK but wrapped it up due to lack of growth. She then refocused her content with POPxo, geared towards a younger, Indian audience. The lifestyle- and women-focused website launched in 2014 and went on to raise US$2 million (approximately 13 crore) in Series A funding. Gill says, “Make in India is everything to POPxo. The moment we moved to New Delhi with content for the Indian woman, it just took off.” The site has a monthly audience of almost four million, and has launched a Hindi version as well. Gill says two women have significantly contributed to the site’s success, “Vani Kola, MD of Kalaari, who’s an investor and on our board. And my co-founder Namrata Bostrom. Starting up is a big challenge for any entrepreneur, so it was important to do it with someone who’s driven, talented and has the same goals.” AT

When Sinha and Anirban Chowdhury set up Frugal Labs Tech Solutions in 2012, they were a team of two. Today, it has expanded to seven people with a network of over 10,000 trainers the world over. This Bengaluru-based start-up provides tech-based education and hands-on skill development training workshops to engineers, students and professionals. It also specialises in designing products for educational and industrial purposes and offers consultancy services on technology-related projects. A former HR executive, Sinha gave it up and began experimenting with robotics at a friend’s Chennai company. That was when she became aware of tech talent in India, which inspired her to pour her savings into this electronic and communication start-up. The company is especially focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), which is the concept of connecting any gadget or device to each other and to the internet, in order to ease day-to-day activities. Their platform, FLIP (short for Frugal Labs IoT Platform) customises solutions for companies and communities. “We want to provide access and knowledge of technology to every person in India at an affordable cost,” says Sinha. In a rapidly evolving market, she believes a push for creativity and non-stop innovation are at the heart of the company’s success. “Being a tech company, learning about new technology is the mantra of my entire team,” shares Sinha. RD

Co-founder & Editor-in-chief, POPxo

Co-founder, Frugal Labs Tech Solutions Pvt Ltd

“We want to provide access and knowledge of technology to every person in India at an affordable cost”

Priyanka Agarwal Co-founder & CEO, Wishberry

Raising funds for creative ideas is what Wishberry is all about. “We are an end-to-end solution to all crowdfunding needs and beyond just a portal to pitch ideas and facilitate payments,” Agarwal explains. Her venture is focusing on working with independent creative artists (filmmakers, musicians, theatre groups, etc) in India and funding their innovative ideas. One of their recent successes was when V Ravi Shankar, Business Practice Head at Infosys, raised around US$61,000 ( 41 lakh) to make India’s first Sanskrit-animated film, Punyakoti. The platform is the first of its kind in India for creative projects and claims to have a success rate of 70 percent. Since its launch in 2012, Agarwal and co-founder Anshulika Dubey have raised approximately US$1.3 million ( 8.6 crore) for over 325 projects with backers from around 60 countries. In March this year, Wishberry won the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Social Media for Empowerment Award in the crowdfunding category. The duo credits Wishberry’s success to Vijay Anand, founder of The Startup Centre, which supports technology entrepreneurs, as well as Datta Dave, who is well connected in the film industry. Agarwal’s vision for Wishberry is “to become a platform, which will end up giving India its next Oscar-winning movie or Grammywinning music album.” Varun Vazir, SheThePeople.TV


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Managing Partner, AZB & Partners



oth as a lawyer and a woman, I feel I have been part of the Make in India story for several decades, not just the past year. And it has possibly been the most invigorating part of my professional life. Coming back from an extremely exciting five years in Manhattan as a corporate lawyer, I started from scratch in India for the next 10 years as a Junior Counsel in the Bombay High Court. My Make in India story opened up when India opened up in 1991. I started my own entrepreneurial little law firm soon thereafter, consisting of 12 lawyers with a very proprietorial sounding name: “Chambers of Zia Mody”. Every week, the Reserve Bank of India further liberalised the country’s tightly guarded foreign exchange regime and delivered exciting avenues to foreigners coming into India every week—it was a veritable feast. I always say that I grew as a professional and our law firm grew as India grew. Today, in 2016, we are 400 lawyers strong, still bursting with excitement. The Make in India story for a woman entrepreneur was anything but easy, especially in the legal world. Her success continues to be a challenge in the jealously male-guarded world of law firms. To get oneself noticed was a genteel craftiness one had to soon discover. How to be visible, be more relevant, sound more intelligent, look more intelligent—all struggling attempts, with many a slip. But the road has eased up. Female talent in India’s new law firms is now recognised as a key success factor, and hopefully, with a big-hearted attempt to retain women. As it has been said, “There is a war for talent and talent has won.” But India’s Make in India story is not without its pain points. Legislation and regulatory arbitrage continues to be a challenge. Investors, who are asked to buy into this story, face regulations that are often capricious and inconsistent. This may make our lives interesting but surely cause our clients many confused and concerned nights. Speaking for myself, I continue to be excited each day and simply love what I do. The Make in India story, however, will only be fulfilled when there is more passion among our fraternity and many more institutions of excellence for budding lawyers. Above all, as a legal community, we will be a responsible part of India’s growth, when we mature into trusted advisors with a commitment to give correct and honest advice that fulfils the demands of our letterheads.

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p ro f i l e s Falguni Nayar

Founder, Nykaa “Entrepreneurial journeys are seriously energising,” says Nayar, who quit a successful investment-banking career in 2012 and ventured into e-commerce. She invested her savings to set up her multi-brand beauty retail marketplace—as India’s answer to global beauty chain Sephora—that now sells over 35,000 products from about 400 brands. Nykaa also has its own Made in India line of cosmetics, which currently includes bath and body products and nail polish. “I was inspired by those who created big brands, such as Marico and Godrej,” Nayar says. Harsh Mariwala, the founder of Marico, would later join other investors in helping Nykaa raise US$9.5 million ( 64 crore) in Series B funding in October 2015. Today, the firm, which has over 150 employees, has an inventory-led model, sourcing and storing products until they need to be shipped to buyers. “I am glad I took the leap,” Nayar says. The digital world, she reveals, gave her an opportunity to build a big brand with smaller budgets. “I had the belief that multi-brand retail was the way to go forward.” The founder plans to open physical stores across three cities by the end of 2016 and expects a revenue of over US$37.4 million approximately ( 250 crore) by March 2017. Nayar prides herself on creating an enterprise that values consumer behaviour and uses insights from reviews and blogs to promote sales and build buyer loyalty. No wonder then that her mantra goes: “Retail is about detail”. SC

Kalpana Saroj

Chairperson, Kamani Tubes Limited “A combination of willpower and determination is the key to success,” says Saroj, who runs the Mumbai-based copper and copperalloy products manufacturer, Kamani Tubes Limited. While the family-run Kamani Group was founded in 1960, it was subsequently handed over to the workers’ cooperative society in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling aimed at resolving the family’s disputes. The fortunes of the company, however, failed to improve. The Kamani Group faced a penalty of about US$2.4 million ( 16 crore) and was in debt. In 2006, the workers from the company approached Saroj, then at the helm of a successful real-estate company, to take over the business. With just 500 workers, Saroj was able to turn things around, thanks to extensive talks with banks, which led to decreasing the debt amount by more than 50 percent. Saroj, whose net worth is estimated at approximately US$100 million ( 660 crore), drives innovation and creativity in the business. She undertakes extensive market research to understand client demands and requirements. The end result is an improvement of the production process with cost-effective solutions, using technology that requires less labour and electricity. She says, “The Modi government has been very helpful to entrepreneurs and I’m thankful for initiatives like Make in India that help people like me grow their business.” SS


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19/11/16 11:20 am


From right- Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director – PAHO, Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Secretary of Health (Mexico), Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla and Dr. Jon Andrus, Deputy Director – PAHO.



Video Digital

photograph: farrokh chothia

Telling inspiring India stories

movers & makers Vinita VeNkAtesh

Director, Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited

Vani Kola

MD, Kalaari Capital It was the belief in the ability of Indian companies to become global powerhouses that prompted Kola to relocate to Bengaluru after being an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 22 years. In 2006, Kola set up Kalaari Capital, which was initially known as IndoUS Venture Partners, with the objective of being an early-stage investor in new and growing businesses in India and the US. It currently manages US$650 million ( 4,225 crores) in assets and has a diverse portfolio, with technology companies, online retail stores, mobile services, education and health care. Kola is renowned for having knack to identify successful ventures early on (she’s funded about 50), a fact borne out by the success of e-commerce giants such as Snapdeal, Myntra, Urban Ladder and Zivame— each of which was backed by Kalaari. In the span of a decade, Kalaari has become a prominent player in its segment. In 2015, Kola’s firm won the Midas Touch Award for best investor at the Economic Times Startup Awards. She has also been identified by Fortune India as one of the most powerful women in business. A venture capitalist who moved back to India and joined the start-up ecosystem when it was in its initial stages, Kola has had a big role to play in giving Indian entrepreneurs the opportunity and guidance to build on their potential. AT

Venkatesh stepped into the shipping industry over 25 years ago when she joined the Indian National Carrier (The Shipping Corporation of India) through IIM-Ahmedabad’s campus placement.Today, Venkatesh is the director of a state-of-the-art port that also offers customised facilities such as warehousing and transportation. In the last four years, Venkatesh has played a vital role in the port terminal’s expansion. Her responsibilities include a gamut of marketing- and sales-related activities, “right from strategic planning, implementation of the sales process, reviewing and reaching targets.” The job comes with its set of unique challenges. “Despite having a superior product, changing the mindset of the trade is a laborious process. Customers will continue to use congested ports and complain about the lack of facilities, but display the highest reluctance to divert their cargo to a more efficient and costeffective port facility like ours. However, it is a dance I enjoy, for there can be no greater satisfaction than having walked the difficult path and successfully brought a clear advantage to the trade,” Venkatesh says. SS


kishi arora

Founder, Foodaholics

The post-graduate from New York’s Culinary Institute of America has worked with Four Seasons hotels in California and Singapore. She draws inspiration from her travels and from home-cooks; the latter has piqued her interest enough that she wants to provide home-cook-styled international meals in India. She says, “Mothers in the kitchen are constantly thinking of new recipes that will appeal to children. They are the ones who drive innovation and creativity.” Arora moved back to India and with an initial investment of just US$750 ( 50,000) and started Foodaholics, a dessert-speciality bakery in New Delhi. For the pastry chef, the challenge of establishing a baking studio in India was accessing the right ingredients— high-fat whipping cream and different types of high-gluten flour—to create desserts originating from around the globe. Subsequently, Arora decided that her brand would offer more than just desserts and ventured into consultancy. At Foodaholics, she now helps organisations that are interested in or already involved in the food industry, offering consultations on product development and training kitchen staff. SS


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18/11/16 8:00 pm

P ro f i L e s

MaLLika sriniVasan

Chairman & CEO, TAFE

Co-founder & Director, MobiKwik In 2009, Bipin Preet Singh was planning to set up MobiKwik to offer users a safe and easy method for making online payments. Upasana Taku, who had returned to India after working as a senior product manager at PayPal, joined him as co-founder in the venture. Originally launched as a mobile recharge website out of a small flat in Dwarka, New Delhi, MobiKwik has become the country’s largest independent mobile-payments network with over 30 million users and is accepted by over 1,00,000 online and offline retailers. Taku is focused on widening MobiKwik’s scope of services. It currently has 1,00,000 touch points across 1,000 cities where users can go to deposit cash in their MobiKwik wallet. Taku aims to reach 150 million users over the next two years—five times more that its present base. A move in that direction is evident with the recently launched lighter version of the MobiKwik app to benefit users on 2G connections and phones with less processing ability. Stanford-educated Taku believes that the scope for innovation in technology is still vast: “We don’t have an Indian version of Whatsapp or Facebook, and we, as a community of entrepreneurs, need to work towards making this a reality.” AT

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raDhika Ghai aGGarwaL

Co-founder, ShopClues Ghai Aggarwal has the rare honour of being the first woman entrepreneur to have a new-age Indian company cross a billion dollars ( 6,600 crore) in revenue. Her Gurgaon-headquartered firm was established in 2011 and reached the magic milestone in just five years. An online retail platform, which Ghai Aggarwal describes as being close to the concept of Walmart, ShopClues offers cost-effective shopping options to price-conscious masses. “Our customers are not brand-driven but value-driven,” she says. Nearly 60 percent of the company’s orders are in the categories of home, fashion and kitchen wave. In a single month, the e-commerce venture ships over 3.5 million items and experiences a traffic of more than 100 million—of which 70 percent comes via mobile. Ghai Aggarwal wasn’t new to retail when she co-founded ShopClues with her husband, former analyst Sanjeev Aggarwal, and Sanjay Sethi of e-Bay, having worked at upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom in the early 2000s. About the online marketplace, Ghai Aggarwal believes it has ventured beyond the metros and that ShopClues has provided a platform for tier-two cities to access online products and services. PG

photograph: gEtty iMagES

UPasana takU

Recognised as a visionary leader in the agricultural-machinery sector, Srinivasan is committed to the growth of the industry. Elected the Chairman and CEO of TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited) in 2011, she has been at the forefront of remarkable growth in the field. Having been with the company for over 25 years, Srinivasan has played a vital role in establishing TAFE as a manufacturer of high-quality tractors, expanding its portfolio of products and building its manufacturing capabilities. The Chennai-headquartered firm has also invested in agricultural-equipment manufacturers from around the world. What began with a single tractor model in 1961 has now grown into a global business, becoming India’s second-largest—and the world’s third-largest—manufacturer of farm equipment. In 2005, Srinivasan led TAFE to acquire the tractor, engine and gears division of Eicher Motors in a bid to not just expand, but gain a stronger hold on the market for farm equipment. The firm reported sale of 1,50,000 tractors annually across more than 85 countries around the world. Acknowledged as a business leader with an eye for detail and exacting standards of excellence, Srinivasan believes that success lies in a hands-on approach, having a passion for the work, and also a focus on sustainability. Her steadfast approach and invaluable contribution in making TAFE a brand to be reckoned with has earned her the moniker of ‘tractor queen’. PG

18/11/16 8:00 pm


Founder and Creative Director, BBlunt



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was fourteen when I knew I wanted to work with hair for the rest of my life. I became the ‘Saturday girl’ at my mother’s favourite salon back in the UK, and I began with errands like sweeping floors and making coffee before graduating to shampooing. I was fortunate to have a hairstylist take me under his wing—I learned entirely through this experience that the beauty business is very personal and something of a privilege. When he left to begin his own salon, I helped him, not realising at the time that I was learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I’d only ever visited India once, at the age of 12, when my father passed away but I was curious. I had three months off before the start of a new job and decided to spend that time travelling through India—I arrived with a backpack, a pair of scissors and about £500. I didn’t have a plan but I knew I was enjoying Mumbai too much to leave. So I sent my future employer a postcard, informing them that I wouldn’t be returning. I took on various freelance hairstylist jobs in fashion, films and advertising to support myself. Once my brother arrived in India, we set up our first salon together. We grew the brand, expanded; at some point, we took on new partners to help us and burned our fingers in the process. It was emotionally draining for me, as I felt so connected to the brand that I had grown from scratch. I learned the hard way that a brand isn’t about a name; it’s about the people. So we started all over again. Throughout, my mission has stayed the same: to create an army of kickass hairdressers. Today, BBlunt employs more than a hundred people and has 17 salons in India and one in Dubai as well as two training academies. We’ve also ventured into manufacturing hairstyling products customised for India. Our board consists of seven directors, including myself. I’ve learnt that you have to trust your instincts, when working with new people. You have to know your strengths and then work with people who specialise in the things you don’t know, people who are better than you in other areas. That’s how you grow. Collaboration and sharing are key. My motto: ‘Knowledge is power but only when shared’. You accomplish so much more as a team than you can as an individual, no matter how driven you are. It’s also why I made a conscious decision not to name the brand after myself; it’s got to be something that every person can connect with and feel ownership of so that it can grow to its potential. Yes, people will learn from you and then go out and do their own thing— that’s part of the process. But, in my experience, that never comes back to you in a negative way. People remember and value their time with us. We’ve influenced the culture of the salon environment in India. I may not have had a precise plan when I started out but I did envision a life that looked a lot like this. There’s power in that. I have no doubt it’s had a lot to do with where I am today.

18/11/16 6:05 pm

photograph: Ashish Sahi

Telling inspiring India stories

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Video Digital 21/11/16 5:07 pm


Co-Country Head and Head of Investment Banking– India, Morgan Stanley India represents one of the most attractive investment opportunities globally with GDP growth of more than seven percent, ongoing structural reform, improving macro and micro fundaments and an attractive demographic profile. India’s demographic profile is the most attractive in the world with a median population age of 26 years. Ten million people are expected to join the workforce every year for the next 10 years. This opportunity is accompanied by a responsibility to educate, skill and generate jobs in equal measure. If we are successful in doing that, India will be in the midst of an economic revolution. The three Ds, deflation, demographics and debt, plague most countries around the world. India is well positioned on these metrics. We have inflation, not deflation. We have a declining fiscal deficit (3.5 percent in 2016-17) and low current account deficit (1.4 percent in 2016). Concerns around corporate leverage and state-owned bank debt remain. It is therefore important for the overall health of the economy that this issue continues to get the focus it has been getting. Together with important ongoing structural reform (GST), India today stands out uniquely with the potential to deliver strong economic growth for the next eight to 10 years. This is evident from our increasing FDI (US$36 billion in 2016) and growing FX reserves (US$356 billion). Continued investment in infrastructure is critical for India to deliver on its longterm growth opportunity. The government has increased public capex significantly (Roads and Rail) and more importantly, executing these projects well. This has to continue and with success and stable policies, we anticipate private investors would participate in increasing measure in this investment. Some of the largest private investors in infrastructure (global pension plans, infrastructure funds and sovereign wealth funds) are in India and have started to make big investments in renewables, roads and ports. The start-up story has been a success and has energised our young professionals and engineers. Role models have been established for young people to take risk, innovate and build businesses. The ecosystem is likely to spread with the penetration and easy access to smartphones and internet in rural India and more people should benefit from this technological revolution.The government’s focus on significantly improving the ‘ease of doing business’ in India has sent the right message to global strategic and financial investors. The domestic consumption opportunity is likely to be the underpinning of more investment in manufacturing in India by some of the largest corporates from around the world. As India grows in the next decade, it is important the growth benefits all: the urban and rural population and men and women. The empowerment of women is critical for India to achieve its economic growth. Women in India have reached the highest levels in politics, business and sports. The recent performance by our women athletes at the Olympics speaks volumes about the potential that exists across all spheres of life. However, the numbers are too small and we need to broaden the participation of women at the mid-level so we that have the right pipeline for future leaders. There are also too many women in India who live a different reality of significant gender inequality, lack of education and opportunity. Much more needs to be done on this front. And each one of us has a role to play to help change behaviour and work towards bringing change in the shortest possible timeframe. We are on the right path and importantly need to stay on course in terms of reform, education and investment. This feels like our time to capture the opportunity ahead of us; our time as a country and as Indian women.



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18/11/16 6:14 pm

movers & makers satya vadlamani

CMD, Murli Krishna Pharma Pvt Ltd

As the chief of this pharmaceutical company, Vadlamani is acutely aware of being one of the few women leaders in the space, something, she hopes will change soon. “I know that there are only around 15 percent women in this industry,” she says, pointing out that she cannot name a single independent young woman entrepreneur in her field. Established in 2004 by Vadlamani and Dr Vijay Shastri, the company was set up to manufacture prefinished drug formulations in the form of pellets, granules and nano-particulates ready to fill in capsules and tablets. The almost US$7-million-enterprise ( 45.5 crore) counts more than 64 leading international companies as clients and boasts a robust R&D department. The company has been a pioneer; its many milestones include being India’s first pelletmanufacturing company, as well as being the first ones approved as a 100 percent export-oriented unit and receiving the EU GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification in 2007. Vadlamani believes that the Make in India initiative is healthy for India. “It can reduce India’s foreignexchange burden with less imports, it provides skilled employment to rural people and through exports, generates the required foreign currency.” AT

“make in india can reduce india’s foreignexchange burden with less imports”

KANIKA tekriwal

Co-founder & CEO, JetSetGo Tekriwal co-founded JetSetGo, a private jet concierge service when she was in her early 20s. Today, it is India’s first online aggregator for private jet and helicopter charters. Her company received funding from cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Ventures (an initiative that raises cancer awareness and also backs internet start-ups). Her company’s roster of clients includes corporate houses, sports personalities, celebrities and other HNIs. In fact, Tekriwal believes Singh made the investment decision based on his experience with her concierge services. Last year, JetSetGo introduced air ambulance services to make medical help accessible to remote corners of the country. Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. She shares her experience at an annual private aviation award ceremony, the year she won, “It was announced that a ‘27-year-old girl’ had won. I asked them, ‘What are you afraid of—the bit about the 27-year-old or the bit about the girl?’” In this male-dominated industry, Tekriwal is committed to ensure the 50 percent of JetSetGo’s workforce will be made up of women by 2017. AT

Sminu Jindal

MD, Jindal SAW Ltd Her company manufactures ductile pipes and pellets, making it a big spoke in the Make In India wheel for industries of all kinds. The firm, part of the OP Jindal Group has an order book of more than a billion dollars. For Jindal manufacturing is the corner stone of creativity. “It just cannot work without innovation. And creativity is when you tell someone to up productivity… say bring down a project cost from 10 to 1 lakh rupees. That challenging bit is what it’s all about,” says Jindal, who runs this US$900 million ( 6,000 crore) business with presence in North Africa (Libya and Egypt), Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Australia, USA, Latin America (Chile and Peru) from a wheelchair. She knows about challenges, no doubt—having lost both her legs in an accident when she was 11 years old while returning home from boarding school, the Maharani Gayatri Devi school, in Jaipur. Jindal also runs Svayam initiative, which aims to make life easier for those who suffer from reduced mobility, whether due to age or because they are differently-abled. Disability hasn’t deterred her spirit or ambition. “The reward is the business grows and with it grows the lives of so many people,” she says, when asked about the most rewarding part of running a business. PG

manufacturing is the corner stone of creativity which cannot work without innovation


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photograph: india today group

Sminu Jindal, MD, Jindal SAW Ltd

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19/11/16 6:35 pm

movers & makers Tanushree Hazarika

Schauna Chauhan CEO, Parle Agro

At the young age of 22, Chauhan did not have to think twice before she joined her family business as one of the board members. Growing up in a family of businessmen, she was sure of her career. She became the CEO in 2006, but that is not how she started in the company. Her initial role was to learn and understand the business. Introducing automation in plants, she also diversified the portfolio of products to baked snacks, pure fruit juices and confectionery. Over time, Parle Agro has grown their infrastructure to 76 manufacturing facilities both in India and overseas and has successfully developed a network of 3,500 channel partners that cater to more than 6 lakh outlets in the country. As the CEO of a US$375,000,000 ( 2,500 crore) company, and a believer of teamwork, healthy culture and set of values, Chauhan’s challenge lies in keeping the company’s growth steady and going. Building a robust leadership pipeline and retaining employees is another challenge that she deals with. Parle Agro exports its products to Africa, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Chauhan’s success mantra is “to keep going”. Chauhan, whose younger sisters Alisha and Nadia are also a part of the business, takes inspiration from within the family. Outside family, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, are the kind of personalities that keep her striving for better. SS

Over time, Parle Agro has grown their infrastructure to 76 manufacturing facilities both in India and overseas 46

“I am addicted to change,” says Guwahati-based Tanushree Hazarika, who runs the English monthly Eclectic Northeast, which covers the entire region, and has a circulation of 62,000 and a readership of over 3,00,000. A business management graduate from Boston University, Hazarika previously worked in MNCs like Fidelity and Morgan Stanley in the US, before returning to India in 2007 to set up the magazine. “The magazine has always endeavoured to hold up a picture of a region that is layered and progressive,” she says. Her strategy when leading a newsroom is to give space to people’s ideas and “not micromanaging”, something she learnt from her mentor Keith Berwick, Emmy award-winning broadcaster. (Hazarika is a member of the international NGO, The Aspen Institute, of which Berwick is the founding executive director.) She believes there is an urgent need to bring the Northeast at par with the rest of the country and Eclectic Northeast is just one way she is working to achieve that vision. Along with the magazine, she has launched many other properties and ventures, such as the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival and the Eclectic Ananta Speaker Series to spotlight the stories of the region. In 2010, Hazarika also founded Tattva Creations, an event management, branding and communications firm, to organise events across the Northeast for corporate houses. SS

photograph: pankaj anand

MD, Eclectic Group


Executive Director, Godrej Consumer Products

will start with a couple of disclaimers: (1) The only balancing act I know well is horse riding and (2) I truly believe my glass is full. I was born in 1978. By 1988, when I was 10 years old, 35 percent of my girl peers dropped out of school. Around 16 years of age, only 26 percent of us were left. Just two years later, just nine percent remained. If you are an Indian woman like me, lucky enough to have the opportunity to get a good education, always remember our glasses are brimming. And here’s some advice to mull over, as you think of your career: Do something you are passionate about, work hard and always remember that your career is a marathon and not a sprint. Do whatever it takes but follow your heart in your choice of career. It will make the personal sacrifices, which will inevitably be there, more worthwhile. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that one of the secrets to success is plain hard work.To be good at anything could take 10,000 hours or 10 years. If you want to have a great career, don’t expect it to happen without hard work. If you are a woman, then do it as early in your career as you can. This will allow you to bank enough experience and goodwill to dip into later on. Think about your career as a very long run. There will be times when you will run breathless uphill and you will question the pain you are putting yourself through. But stick it out. Pace yourself, take a sabbatical, if need be, but don’t quit. Financial independence and a sense of purpose beyond our families is worth it. Be Beezie. Equestrian sports and sailing are the only two in the Olympics that see men and women compete against each other. Showjumping athlete, 52-year-old Beezie Madden just competed in her fourth Olympics. Be Beezie and go head to head with men. Use to your advantage the fact that sometimes people will underestimate you. For example, I see many young people in FMCG not willing to take up the role of rural sales. As a woman, go that extra mile and stand out. Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and live in smaller, rural places. Believe in yourself and defy expectations and it will help you break all the walls and ceilings. Work with a results-oriented company. Look for a company that offers flexibility and will reward you for the work that you do rather than the amount of time you spend at the office. At Godrej, we have adopted unlimited sick leave, six months off in the maternity policy, adoption and paternity benefits as well as an option to work from home and flexible working hours. Partner well. Choose a spouse, who will be your career champion and who believes that both of you have equal responsibility, when it comes to building a family. Our extended Indian family serves as a tremendous support system. Leverage it. Be like Anne Mulcahy. While I was at Harvard, in a single week, I attended talks by Mulcahy, former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, who turned around the company, and Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric. The difference in their approaches really stuck with me. I didn’t really know much about Mulcahy before the talk but held Welch in high esteem. But her kindness, humility and deep commitment to her organisation inspired me much more than he did. Seek out women leaders you admire. I am very lucky to have been mentored by Ireena Vittal (who serves as an independent director for a number of companies including Godrej) and I would encourage you to have at least one woman mentor. And always make it a point to help other women. Ursula Burns, who took over as CEO from Mulcahy, was the first African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She was also the first woman to take over from another woman as the head of a Fortune 500 company. I wish you the very best.



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18/11/16 6:23 pm




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arren Buffet said that once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble while investing. This ‘temperament’ he refers to is what we call EQ—Emotional Quotient. In my experience, women have higher EQ than men, stemming from a greater sense of empathy for others, and this makes them far more likely to succeed as leaders in an increasingly complex world, where the job of the leader is not just to solve problems but also to wisely choose, enable, empower and trust teams to do so. At a tangible level, EQ consists of the following—self-awareness, the ability to recognise and understand one’s own emotions, moods and reactions; selfmanagement, the capability to manage and adapt one’s own emotions, moods and reactions; empathy, the power to understand the feelings of others and relate to them more effectively; motivation, the skill to push ourselves to take appropriate action, commit and follow through towards one’s goals; and social skills, the facility to build relationships to lead, negotiate conflict and work in a team. In a nutshell, EQ is about understanding yourself and the impact you have on others. At the end of the day, businesses are about people—people start them, fund them, lead them, manage them and drive them. And to build great relationships with all these people, you require a mature way of connecting with them as well as motivating and supporting them over time, to ensure that they produce their best work, healthily and happily. Indra K Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, has set an agenda of ‘performance with purpose’ with a view of moving employees from ‘having a job’ to ‘living a calling’. She also wrote letters to the parents of 29 senior executives at the company to tell them what great kids they’d raised. Her relationships with her top performers is so great that many of them write to her regularly even after they leave. Anu Aga’s daughter Meher Pudumjee says she was extremely nervous when she was to helm Thermax. Aga was deeply sensitive to this fact. She said to Pudumjee: “Remember you are you. Be yourself and do what you think is right. The moment you start mimicking your mother or father, it won’t work.” These words boosted her confidence tremendously and she went on to restructure and refocus the company—suitably illustrating how high EQ can help with leadership transition. In banking, success depends on having a sound judgement on those you lend to and to manage risk. It’s all about having the instinct to understand the emotions of entrepreneurs and what motivates them. Indian women are undeniably successful at this. Arundhati Bhattacharya (Chairperson, State Bank of India), Chanda Kochhar (MD and CEO, ICICI Bank) and Shikha Sharma (MD & CEO, Axis Bank) lead institutions that contribute to 35 percent of the total advances and a third of the banking sector market cap. Examples abound across India but much more needs to be done to ensure we bring more women into the workplace and keep them there. It is, therefore, crucial that today’s leaders tap into their EQs to help create conducive working environments as well as manage their employees well. Only then will we have a new generation of sensitive and successful leaders—women or men—who will not only Make in India but truly make India.


MD, Dalmia Bharat

18/11/16 6:26 pm

movers & makers

nina lekhi

Founder, Baggit

lisa srao Founder & CMD, I Brands Beverages Limited Srao was blazing a trail in a man’s world when she launched I Brands Beverages Limited in 2008. Featuring a diverse range of carefully crafted spirits, which include Three Royals Whisky, Rum 99 and the flagship Granton Whisky, her award-winning brand is considered to be the fastest-growing liquor start-up in the country. London-born Srao had a thriving career in the UK in the field of media and marketing before she moved to India in 2003. Her decision to turn entrepreneur in the liquor industry was met with a healthy amount of scepticism. She recalls, “I was told that it was not possible for a woman to do business in this industry in India.” Now, eight years later, her company’s products are available in over 6,000 retail outlets in 120 cities across 15 states. She has set her sights on generating over US$75 million ( 500 crore) in revenue in the next five years and to export India-made spirits to the subcontinent. The decision to manufacture in India has contributed significantly to her brand’s growth. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, given how capital-intensive the liquor industry is. I realised that if I had to be truly price competitive, I had to manufacture in India itself,” she says. Srao believes that Make in India is a powerful tool for change. She adds, “We can now showcase our products in any international arena. I’m proud that India has developed into such a remarkable land of opportunity.” RD

“I realised that if I had to be truly price competitive, I had to manufacture in India. i’m proud that india is such a remarkable land of opportunity”

In 1984, while studying at Mumbai’s Sophia Polytechnic institute, 18-yearold Lekhi began designing handbags as a hobby. With just US$105 ( 7,000) that she borrowed from her mother, she founded Baggit in 1985. By 1990, orders had increased enough for her to look for a larger manufacturing space. Today, Baggit has “turned into an almost US$15 million-business (over 100 crore)”. Lekhi’s realisation as a teen that the “women’s handbags segment had not been explored”— especially at a time when women in India had to wait for international trends and fashion to become available here—has paid off in a big way. Lekhi worked on all elements of her business, including designing, manufacturing and marketing and calls Baggit a true home-grown brand. She believes that an initiative like Make in India is “reinforcing pride in what we do”. Baggit currently employs over 1,000 people across the country and some of her former employees are now suppliers to the brand. Lekhi says that Baggit has not just strong sales but also “provides employment and fosters entrepreneurship within villages, empowering workers to become business owners”. She now plans on taking Baggit to the country’s mini-metros and beyond. For someone who started out before the entrepreneurial revolution was even a blip on the horizon, Lekhi finds it satisfying to see the spirit of entrepreneurship that has gripped the nation. RD


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ake mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn, and the better you become. The best lessons I’ve learned in the last eight years has been from the things that I did wrong. Be authentic and original. It’s important to accept your own authenticity and be who you are. Sometimes people expect you to behave, talk, dress or react in a certain ‘accepted’ way. While we should believe in ourselves, it is also important to carry that belief into all our conversations and interactions. It’s easy to get swayed when someone asks, for instance, ‘Why are you wearing this for such a meeting?’ Don’t lose your originality. Embrace it, accept it and you’ll be happier. Be flexible and adapt. The market is constantly changing. While you align to your vision and pursue what you want to, running towards your goal at full speed, you should also be nimble. You should be ready to ‘do the dance’. Be flexible and adaptable while staying focused and enthusiastic. Look inwards. Even when you’re working incessantly, it is important to reflect, especially on one’s own self. When you reflect about external things or what people said, you gain a greater perspective and grip on your own situation. You are able to handle things better and understand what is happening around you. Be selfish with your time. Time management is key: question whether you’re working long hours versus working effectively. You will sometimes find yourselves wanting to stretch enjoyable conversations with other people—but you have to be selfish about your time and prioritise and manage it wisely. Be nice to everyone, irrespective of their social standing. Whether you meet the MD and CEO of a company or a security guard, your interaction must be equally respectful and warm. This is a true indicator of your nature and character. Generally, we tend to be nice to those in power and not as much with those we deem as not useful to us. No matter what you do or the heights you scale, you will be remembered by people for how you made them feel. Be more compassionate to yourself. Entrepreneurs are often very hard on themselves—and on others. The key to being more forgiving and understanding of others lies in learning to love yourself. We must remind themselves of our human nature—flaws, frailty and all—and to be less critical of ourselves and others. Trust both your instincts and the data. It’s a fine balance, one you will continuously learn to manage. Pay equal attention to both, regardless of your final decision. Be clear. Communicate your vision and goals to everyone consistently, especially as you scale up. People cannot read your mind. Chaos and confusion are part of the process but remember that not everybody functions well in such an environment. Be persistent in the face of struggle. Winners don’t give up just because things get difficult. Persistence is the top-most trait of entrepreneurs who have survived and thrived. This journey is not a matter of a single day, week, month or year—it is a lifelong process.


Founder and Chief Editor, YourStory.com

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movers & makers Upasana Makati,

Founder & publisher, White Print

Suchita Salwan,

Founder, Little Black Book Who knew that a business idea could come from being bored in one’s hometown? “I wanted to fall in love with the city I grew up in [Delhi] all over again. There was a need to discover and live a more interesting, connected life.” Being bootstrapped for the first two years of Little Black Book, a curated local discovery platform, came with challenges, but Suchita claims she wouldn’t change a thing. “We’ve grown since and expanded to Bengaluru and Mumbai in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Building a business in an economy like India’s, there’s immense pressure to move fast. But there’s no point in moving 50 steps ahead if step one, two and three are all wrong. It’s imperative for entrepreneurs to know that it’s okay, and often essential, to take your own time.” How does LBB tie in with Make In India? “It provides an opportunity to identify problems that are unique to India and find the best possible creative solutions to them. India is not a onesize-fits-all country. So it’s up to us to embrace innovation and change and run with it.” Smitha Menon

“Make In India provides an opportunity... it’s up to us to embrace innovation and change, and run with it”

Like most business ventures, Makati’s idea for her startup first came with a vision. One for those who cannot see. Founded in 2013, White Print is India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille. “In a world that is highly obsessed about technology and communication, something as basic as a magazine was not available for the visually impaired to read.” After eight months and three title rejections from the Registrar of Newspapers For India, White Print is now printed at the National Association of the Blind in Mumbai and circulated across the country. “The part that excites us the most is that we receive subscriptions from the smallest towns and villages in India such as Vijayawada, Pudukkottai, Dehradun, and states like Mizoram and Nagaland.” Aside from innovations in Braille literature, Upasana tells us that the magazine has also encouraged advertisers to open up to concepts such as advertising in Braille. “You don’t have to wait for your hair to turn grey to pursue a venture with social relevance. Social entrepreneurship has been the most fulfilling experience of my life.” SM

Kanika Khanna

Director, Sunkalp Energy “Working in the diesel industry, I was painfully aware of the fact that no amount of engineering and innovation will ever make conventional sources of energy ‘clean’,” says Khanna, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus who now runs Sunkalp Energy which provides rooftop solar power to homes, schools and industries. While stepping into alternative energy was a conscious decision for her, the relatively new field came with its own set of challenges—the uncertainty of technology, manpower, policy and prices, to name a few. Even with all the hurdles in her way, Sunkalp Energy reports a market share of 10 percent in Delhi NCR, offices in three states and an annual turnover of arond a million US dollars ( 5 crore). According to Kanika, India’s human capital is a strong asset for manufacturing organisations, where a small lathe shop can also produce a complicated part for rapid prototyping. “I hope with the government’s new impetus behind Make in India, we are able to utilise our unique mind set to innovate and make some of the best products in India,” she adds. Has being a woman in this industry affected her? “It only affected me for as long as I believed it did”. Sushant Kumar


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photograph: Diego Fuga

Telling inspiring India stories

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Video Digital 19/11/16 3:57 pm


Founder and Chairperson, Arghyam Co-founder, Ekstep ll parents want the best for their children. The ambition often starts with trying to give them quality education. In India, this goal is unfortunately harder to achieve for the poor than for the elite. Often, the poor have to make do with schools that do not give sufficient attention to children, are understaffed or under-resourced. Even if parents choose to spend towards private schools, they cannot be assured that those schools will impart the kind of education that bigger and better city schools deliver. The result is that we have tens, if not hundreds, of million children, who have been deprived of their very basic right to good education. Thanks to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), it is now common knowledge that two out of five children in class five cannot read a paragraph meant for class two children. Imagine what that means for those children. In a society that has rapidly transitioned into knowledge-based, children who cannot read or write fluently or master basic maths are less likely to catch up with their peers who have had better access to learning opportunities. It means that their ability to integrate into a complex and fast-changing world will be that much more compromised. They may not find it easy to express themselves fully as citizens. They may not be able to get good jobs. This is a national tragedy. No modern nation has achieved prosperity for the majority without universalising quality education. If we do not make rapid strides in this regard, we’ll be cheating about 200 million children of their full potential. And a nation of its ambitions. Yet, the potential to deliver exists. The intent, too, exists. There are hundreds of NGOs working in the education space; all state governments are keen to improve learning outcomes and the private sector, of course, is eager to expand. What if we could build an open, inclusive platform that allows all that intent and all that potential to be poured out in the most optimal fashion? What if we could use the latest technologies that have serendipitously converged—such as affordable smartphones with multimedia capabilities, broadband access, big data analytics, machine learning and more? What if this platform allows for an easy user experience (so that children can navigate it) combined with sophisticated tools at the back end for educators and caring adults to create and curate engaging content? What if children could access learning opportunities without social or economic barriers anywhere, anytime? We’ve undertaken this challenge at Ekstep, which was co-founded by my husband Nandan [Nilekani], Shankar Maruwada and myself last year. It’s a societal platform that allows for creative collaboration. One of the reasons India has not succeeded in giving every child the learning experience he/she deserves is because we have not made the effort of each stakeholder bigger than the sum of its parts. To achieve that, we have to learn from each other, share and co-create. Ekstep is designed as a platform for all those with a stake in India’s children and their education. This is not about us. It is about them. We want it to reach millions of children to help them grasp the basic skills of reading, writing and maths and build their confidence and self-esteem alongside. I am optimistic that today, more than ever, the hopes of millions of parents, the emergence of empowering technologies and the power of a strong societal intent will allow India’s children to realise their right to a sound basic education.



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18/11/16 6:33 pm


Founder director Parvata Foods Pvt Ltd


Founder, Vu Technologies The intersection between technology and human interaction fascinated and prompted Saraf to set up Vu Technologies in 2006. The venture brings the two elements closer through the production of highend television sets. Saraf, whose father Raj Saraf established Zenith Computers at the peak of the PC revolution, chose not to join the family business and ventured out on her own. However, her family did fund her maiden enterprise with an initial investment of about US$5,00,000 ( 3.25 crore). Today, 10 years later, her company boasts a 200-strong team, revenue of nearly US$50 million ( 325 crore) and offices in California and New Delhi. Plus, Vu products are not only sold in stores but also through multi-brand channels online. The University of Southern California alumna pursued an Owner/President Management Program at Harvard. She says she was impressed by the human approach to product development at innovation labs there and at MIT Boston. For her own company’s products, she “partnered with Intel and Microsoft and developed Vu’s first product on the Intel VIIV architecture— the Digital Home”. About Vu’s competition, she says, “Even giants like Sony and Samsung don’t offer the features we do, like in-built Netflix, YouTube and headphone connectivity.” Saraf believes that Make in India can best be described as an effort towards creating “good quality and design with a focus on scaling the output.” SC

In January this year, Siddhi Karnani became a familiar name to many, thanks to the Prime Minister’s radio address Mann Ki Baat. He was impressed with her organic farm in Sikkim and mentioned her on the show. Karnani established her agri-business start-up in December 2013 to cultivate and supply organic produce to retail outlets through a farm-to-store model. “Our aim is to build a value chain in fruits, vegetables and spices from Sikkim and other states in the Northeast and eastern India,” reveals Karnani, a graduate of IIM-Ahmedabad, whose co-founder Anurag Agarwal is also alumnus. Their objective, Karnani says, is to elevate the living standards of farmers in difficult areas. She wants to set an example and challenge the notion that women don’t (or can’t) take up leadership positions in the agricultural sector. “The entire agri-ecosystem has a dearth of women and I am mostly looked upon as an anomaly. We have vast amount of talent and it needs to be identified and channelised properly in the right direction.” Karnani says that Make in India resonates with her, because the idea is central to what she’s trying to achieve through her start-up. SS


Founder, Pacific Rim Robotics

The rising importance of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) applications the world over prompted Pradhan to launch her venture in December 2015. The STEM instructor, certified from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Academy, was inspired by the many Silicon Valley start-ups that originated in garages. The learning technique adopted by her company focuses on preparing children for careers in robotics. “We want children to build complete systems themselves, thinking through design, logic, implementation and testing. We showcase the latest advancements in robotics and AI that combat real-world problems,” she explains. One of the projects includes using drones to help rescue workers during fires and earthquakes. Another features a robot that collects garbage bins. Pradhan’s venture currently educates over a dozen students between the ages of eight and 12. By the end of this year, she plans to have five more centres across three cities. But she isn’t looking at raising funds yet: “We’ll focus on bootstrapping for as long as we can by re-investing into the business. I believe looking for investment too early will distract us from the key mission. Ours is an Intellectual Property-based business, so I don’t think outside investment is a real priority for us at this point.” SS


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19/11/16 6:59 pm

Chitra GUrnani DaGa

photograph: gEtty iMagES

Co-founder & CEO, Thrillophilia Daga’s work as an IT professional meant that she found herself in a different city every Sunday. And if weekends were going to be away from home, she had to find things to do. “I was working with SAP and my husband was with Cisco, when we saw an opportunity to create an activity- and experiential-focused travel start-up. That’s how Thrillophilia was born,” she recalls. Thrillophilia is an online platform for booking activities, aggregating some 10,000 experiences offered by more than 3,500 suppliers across 20 cities in India. Thrillophilia was founded in a one-bedroom apartment in Bengaluru with the duo’s savings and now has a 75-member team across four offices with a plan to “cover Asia as a market”. The journey hasn’t been easy but Daga doesn’t look at it through the prism of gender. She believes that entrepreneurial challenges are the same for everyone. Having a mentor was a big plus, she says. “Pradeep Mittal, founder of Magna, shared simple but highly effective fundamentals of running a business.” When Thrillophilia was established in 2010, start-ups were not celebrated as they are now. “For those who are starting now; Make in India provides a good support structure,” she says. RD

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P ro f i L e s

ashwini asokan

shoBana kaMineni Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited

The daughter of Pratap C Reddy, founder, Apollo Hospitals, Kamineni works in the family business along with her three sisters. The largest integrated healthcare service provider in Asia, Apollo started with just one hospital in Chennai back in 1983. “Personally, I feel grateful that I have been involved in this great journey since its inception. Over the course of almost 35 years, we have treated over 45 million patients. I have planned and built most of our facilities, founded the retail pharmacy division and our foray into health insurance,” Kamineni says. Apollo’s presence encompasses over 10,000 beds across 64 hospitals, more than 2,200 pharmacies, and over 100 primary care and diagnostic clinics across nine countries. As the executive vicechairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, Kamineni also oversees Apollo Global Projects Consultancy, which is among the largest hospital consultants in the world, and Apollo Pharmacy, India’s largest pharmacy chain with over 2,500 stores and 17,000 employees; it services 2,50,000 customers a day. Apart from these responsibilities within her business, Kamineni is also President-Designate, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the first woman to be appointed to that role. “Make in India is a powerful message that signals India’s capabilities as a global market. For healthcare, India has been the leading provider of high-quality medical and nursing talent across the globe,” she says. AT

aPoLLo’s PresenCe enCoMPasses oVer 10,000 BeDs aCross 64 hosPitaLs, More than 2,200 PharMaCies, anD oVer 100 PriMary Care anD DiaGnostiC CLiniCs aCross nine CoUntries

“I’ve always been interested in intersections of technology, society and product,” says Asokan, whose company offers Artificial Intelligencebased solutions to simplify everyday activities. (Imagine a mobile game that can read your expression or perform a visual search for shopping.) Mad Street Den, founded by Asokan and her husband Anand in 2014, recently launched Vue.ai, believed to be the world’s first AI-based platform for fashion. It brings users and e-commerce companies a new, ‘emotion’-led experience. Their clients include YepMe, Craftsvilla and Voonik as well as firms in the US and west Asia. She describes the venture as a group of neuroscientists, fashion designers, data scientists, product designers, branding experts and engineers all building technology together. The Chennai-headquartered company, which started with the couple at the helm, now has a team of 50 people (and a dog) and offices in Bengaluru, San Francisco and London. Asokan’s mentors are the women she met at Intel, where she worked for 10 years before moving to India. “Lama Nachman, a senior principal engineer at Intel, who, along with her team, created a pioneering new system, ACAT (Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit) to enable Stephen Hawking’s assistive chair. And renowned anthropologist Genevieve Bell, who serves as VP at Intel.” Asokan believes Make in India has set about a movement to bring enterprising people together. RD

photograph: gEtty iMagES

Co-founder, Mad Street Den


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S H A I L I C H O P RA Founder, SheThePeople



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he coinage of the term Make in India will surely go down in history books as a turning point for millions of Indian entrepreneurs, especially women. Many women before 2014, and many more after, have been swept by the force that is India, a land of opportunities, challenges and seeding ground of successful businesses. For most people, Make in India is a lion. For me, it’s a lioness. Women are at the heart of India’s big economic opportunity, driving big and small businesses, working from home, restarting careers and experimenting with new ideas. Gender parity can boost India’s economic growth by 27 percent—and the number can only grow because of the kind of pursuit with which women are driving the creative and financial value chain. Having launched two digital businesses, one before Make in India came about and the other, after that, I have witnessed two significant changes; one is how the society, in general, deals with women-led businesses because of the Make in India buzz. I have walked into government offices before with business proposals. Now when I walk in, there is a clear sense of urgency and professionalism while conducting such meetings. Second, how quickly women have been able to put frameworks and structures to aid other women who are starting their businesses. A good example of this is the sizeable number of funding mechanisms geared towards women-led businesses that have come up in recent months. India is clearly the next big digital miracle waiting to happen. With over 800 million smartphones soon to become a reality, the present boom of market integrators, app-based services and many more to come, the power of digital will help integrate women much more than ever before. Women in India are already driving the digital revolution with start-ups in e-commerce, content, coding, crowdsourcing and more. The flexibility to work from home or be the master of your business and self is infectious and driving them towards exploring entrepreneurship. Additionally, many of these women have displayed a discerning business acumen, driven by profitability and new-age organisational set-ups. And this insight was best captured by Mr Amitabh Kant (CEO, Niti Aayog and former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), when he spoke at the Digital Women Awards last year in Mumbai. He said, “Women entrepreneurs have an edge over male entrepreneurs.” Kant insisted that this is going to radically change the country’s future and its approach to creating economic value. “They will outperform for several reasons. Women leaders in India have a better feel of household spending patterns. They understand consumer perspective better. They have a way of building trust with customers, shareholders, etc. Also, there is a great level of diversity when women occupy top positions.” According to the United Nations Foundation, women reinvest 90 percent of their income back into their families, while men reinvest only 30 to 40 percent. If women were to play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as US$28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual Gross Domestic Product by 2025. That empowering women is smart economics is a no brainer. There is very little left to discuss when it comes to gender parity in the workforce. If women truly become the driving force of Make in India, the country will see the unleashing of an entrepreneurial power that can help India grow at 11 to 12 percent every year.

18/11/16 6:40 pm

movers & makers Jessica jayne

Founder, Pahadi Local This self-identified serial entrepreneur is a sound engineer by training. Her latest venture, Pahadi Local, works with villages and monasteries in Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to bring wellness products native to the Himalayas to consumers around the country. These include pure apricot kernel and walnut oils, mineral-rich clay, and even rosewood and floral honeys, all beautifully packaged. Sustainability is core to Jayne’s philosophy: “We have created procurement systems mirroring cooperative structures, and practice fair pricing where we pay much higher than the local rate. We are also working on a royalty-to-source programme for some of our very rare and special products,” says Jayne. The brand stands for social responsibility while promoting the ‘luxury in simplicity’. The year-old company even has an initiative called Pahadi Empower that puts five percent of profits back in to the local communities. A sustainable supply chain makes good business sense, says Jayne. “We harbour an intrinsic responsibility to the land and labour, and personally guarantee that every product is born out of socially responsible and ethical sourcing.” Raj Aditya Chaudhuri

Megha Gupta

Founder, Dharavimarket.com As a journalist-turnedurban planner, Dharavi was always a subject of study for 30-year-old Gupta. On one such field visit to the cluster of slums, she felt the need to build an equal opportunity platform that will make Dharavi’s skilled craftsmanship available to the entire world. And with that idea, Megha turned into an ‘accidental’ entrepreneur by single-handedly launching Dharavimarket.com in 2014. Today, this for-profit e-commerce portal serves as a marketplace for everything from leather products and pottery items to clothing and accessories—all ‘Made in Dharavi’. With the help of three employees, Megha hopes to double the company’s current annual turnover of USD75,000 ( 50 lakhs). She also plans to expand their reach by participating in international trade fairs that will help them acquire bulk orders from clients. “It is difficult because I am doing it without a business partner and have limited funds to keep it going, yet it’s fun because this is my passion and I don’t wish to do anything else,” she says, describing her entrepreneurial journey so far. For Gupta, the Make in India initiative could prove to be a game changer. It means not just an increase in the number of jobs for skilled craftsmen but also a better standard of living. SK

This for-profit e-commerce portal serves as a marketplace for all things ‘Made in Dharavi’

Monica Narula

Co-founder, Idea Chakki A video-based food tech startup helmed by three former NDTV executives, Idea Chakki already sounds unique. Says Narula, “I was heading food programming at NDTV and we [co-founders Gunjan Mehrish and Noopur Tiwari] always wanted to innovate around food instead of just doing tabletop cooking shows. In TV, the environment had started to become predictable and limiting. Similarly the food tech space was full of me-too apps. We wanted to build something original that solved a universal problem.” Idea Chakki provides diners visual menus and short video previews of dishes. It also allows users to gift dining and drinking experiences to each other through its vertical, Dash. “Ours is a global app and the whole idea was to invent something original. It happens to be made in India but it is meant to solve a global pain point and remove language barriers by making everything visual. Make in India is just making locally, a natural, logical choice.” Impressed by people who use technology to bring about social change, Narula is no stranger to the challenges that entrepreneurs face. “It’s always hard to change a habit. Luckily for us, our idea is completely unique. We want to give people something they have been missing. Funnily, they realise it. We’re predicting that this will be a habitforming game-changer for the F&B industry. Visual menus are the future.” Samira Sood


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19/11/16 7:16 pm


Professional tennis player



here has been a lot of talk in the press and on social media, recently, about the success of women in Rio 2016 Olympics. Apart from the two medals won by female athletes, there were a few more Indian women, who just missed out. But, I feel, there is still a lot of work that needs to be put in to change the mindset of our countrymen, before our girls get the kind of support, facilities and encouragement that can help nurture a stream of champions in future. However, it is not just the champion athletes that I am looking out for in our country. A sporting nation is a healthy nation and it is when the majority of young men and women are provided with adequate facilities to participate in organised sports that we, as a country, will benefit the most. For me, sports are not just about winning. It is about putting your best foot forward, trying your utmost and pushing yourself to the limits. When we collectively learn to do this, results will automatically follow. Every child who takes to sports will not necessarily become a champion but participating itself will ensure that he or she will be in a better position to handle the ups and downs of life in a more efficient manner. In fact, indulging in sports helps build character and keeps the youth away from antisocial activities. As a nation, we must work towards providing more facilities to the common people to take up sports. This means—more playgrounds in schools, villages and in residential localities as well as access to equipment and coaches, among various other aids essential for development. We are far more happy to applaud and lavish bounties on the few achievers that we manage to produce against the odds, rather than focusing our efforts at the grass-roots level, encouraging and developing the young talent. We need academies specialising in all kinds of sports to provide impetus to their growth and development in the country. As someone who has been fortunate to achieve success in my chosen field, I felt the responsibility to nurture the game that has given me so much in life. With this aim, I set up my eponymous tennis academy in Hyderabad, my hometown. The goal is not only to provide opportunities to play the glorious game but also to produce the next generation of Grand Slam champions from our country. To achieve this, I have also introduced a special scheme to discover and develop rural talent in tennis. A beginning has been made in India but I believe that a lot of work still needs to be done before we can honestly call ourselves a sporting nation. Fortunately, the sporadic success of Indian girls in global sporting competitions is encouraging and definitely a step in the right direction.

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18/11/16 6:38 pm

M at e r i a l M a t t e r s

From cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art facilities to eco-conscious fabrics and grass roots development, the country’s leading textile manufacturers are weaving their global success stories through ingenuity and innovation. By Kimi Dangor Photographs by Arjun Menon

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hen fashion designer Suket Dhir, the muchfeted 2015 winner of the Woolmark Company’s prestigious International Woolmark Prize (IWP), needed assistance in developing the yarn to create the hand tied-and-dyed ikat wool fabric, he turned to the skilled technicians at Raymond Limited’s Chhindwara plant for help. Through research and experimentation at the 25-year-old integrated manufacturing facility, Dhir was able to source the finest woollen yarn, which was then put through the handloom treatment for his award-winning line. This August, Dhir went back for more R&D to the plant that produces premium pure wool, wool-blend and polyester viscose suiting. “Nobody is more experienced in wool than Raymond. The company’s team helped us source and understand yarn, how to dye it and even helped to develop certain plain weaves for cool wool pyjama fabrics,” says Dhir. In social media-saturated times, when viral hashtags like #NationalTextileDay and #IWearHandloom are driving discourse, and the populist narrative of handloom versus power loom looms large, it’s easy to lose sight of the stories behind the headlines. Of instances where Raymond, among the largest manufacturers of worsted fabrics in the world, works in conjunction with design talent to help incubate and facilitate breakthrough ideas. Where Arvind Limited, the third largest manufacturer of denim in the world, pioneers the Made in India khadi denim and also improvises on an organic cotton variety. Beyond the au courant chatter surrounding Benarasi brocade, Bhagalpuri silk and Jamdani weaves lies the less-romanticised yet far more lucrative and pertinent story of the country’s largest textile manufacturers, those who are driving growth, looking to the future, investing in R&D and attempting to tackle growing competition from neighbouring markets. The Indian textile sector is the country’s second largest employment generator after agriculture, providing employment to 45 million directly and 60 million indirectly, and contributing 14 percent to the country’s total Index of Industrial Production (source: ibef.org). And textile behemoths like Raymond, Arvind, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Grasim, Banswara Syntex Limited and Vardhman Textiles, among others, are capitalising on inherent strengths like availability of quality raw materials, the age-old textile traditions of the country, skilled manpower and increased technical expertise to take the new-age story forward. Amit Gugnani, Senior VP and head of textile division, Technopak, talks numbers: “India’s textile and apparel industry was estimated to be worth US$104 billion ( 6,90,000 crore approximately) in 2015, of which 39 percent was exports. India’s domestic textile market was worth US$40 billion ( 268,000 crore), including US$21.7 billion ( 1,45,000 crore approximately) of exports.”


The Indian textile industry contributes approximately five percent to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and rightly so, with its gamut spanning the traditional hand-spun and handwoven textile sector and the capitalintensive mills sector. A rich combination of the two makes India a market unlike any other and also gives it the potential of producing a large variety of textiles that cater to the domestic as well as international market. When it comes to exports, of the total textile production, nearly 30 to 35 percent is exported, Gugnani estimates. “Presently, cotton woven fabric has maximum share (35 percent) in textile exports, followed by MMFY (Man Made Filament Yarn) and MMSF (Man Made Staple Fibre) fabrics. Apart from these, it is expected that knitted fabric will have huge potential over the next five years,” he adds. While the figures weave a bullish tapestry, what they don’t reveal is the investments being made in cutting-edge technological advances to keep abreast of world trends. At Raymond, a 90-year-old company that produces approximately 100 million metres of fabric annually across categories and excels at wool worsted fabrics, with market share upwards of 60 percent in the category, the


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photograph: pixel stories/stocksy

Clockwise from left: The making of fabric; yarn; raw material storage Previous pages: The shop floor of Arvind Limited’s fabric manufacturing unit


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Arvind Limited boasts an annual production capacity of 108 million metres


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accent on premium products is gaining credence. With products spanning the all-wool, wool-rich and poly-wool categories, Sudhanshu Pokhriyal, Raymond’s President, Suiting Business, and his team are now “using innovations to fuel growth and converting fibre specialities into consumer benefits”. He adds, “In India, the general notion is that wool is used only to knit sweaters and warm clothes. As an organisation, we want to dispel that myth and prove that it’s a breathable fabric that can be used across seasons.” Raymond’s latest innovation Technosmart claims to be the “smartest fabric in the world” with features like moisture management, UV-protection, silky touch and easy care—a unique fusion of comfort, style and technology. “This product has created a special mark in the trade generating a business of US$12.4 million approximately ( 83 crore) in eight months and expected to achieve US$15 million approximately ( 100 crore),” says Kishor Bhatia, Director, Product, Suiting Business, Raymond Limited. On the anvil is Technostretch with features like UV-protection, water repellence, easy care, silky touch and natural stretch. And while Raymond has created luxury fabrics using finer wool and exotic fibres like cashmere, guanaco, pashmina, vicuna and camel hair as well as a range of fabrics made from gold yarn, mink, lotus fibre and Saxxon wool, what remains closest to the company’s heart is the Super 250s, which they call “the finest fabric in the world”. Made from 11.4 micron wool (approximately onefifth the diameter of human hair), this fabric is a testimony to Raymond’s globally acclaimed textile manufacturing, explains Bhatia. It has been crafted out of a “record bale” of the finest wool in the world, which Raymond acquired at a hotly contested global auction. “Today, we’re known for Super 250s even in Italy,” he adds. Even as Raymond marks it métier in Italy, RIL is relying on state-of-the-art technology from Japan and Switzerland, used at its manufacturing plant in Naroda, Gujarat, to produce quality textile. The textile complex has the production capacity to manufacture 20 million metres of fabric per annum and RIL currently produces 14 million metres of synthetic and six million metres of wool-based fabrics annually. With their reputation for being among the largest manufacturers of polyester and related fibres in the world, RIL, through their brand Vimal, hopes to capitalise on the “comfort solutions” angle. “Research and innovation is core to the growth of RIL’s textile division. The textile research department has developed many new innovation-based fabrics to provide comfort; especially suitable for tropical climates like in India and similar international markets,” says Pradeep Bhandari, the company’s CEO, Textiles Business. From the antimicrobial DEO2 technology, the patented wrinklefree fabric D-Creased and the Evaporator, a unique moisture-absorbent fabric sought after by sportswear manufacturers, to offerings like NICE, a fabric that absorbs water, keeping the wearer cool, and the latest brand Protector, a treatment that doesn’t allow dust or other particles to settle on the fabric—the list of experimental

The Indian textile sector is the country’s second largest employment generator, affecting 45 million directly and 60 million indirectly advances from RIL’s stable roll off Bhandari’s tongue. “All over the world, comfort is becoming important,” he adds. And with 40 percent of RIL’s total textile produce being exported to 58 countries across the world, he should know.


Ahmedabad-headquartered Arvind Limited may be 85-years-old but is striving to stay ahead in the innovations game with its own co-creation Arvind Denim Lab, where it provides a complete package of technical advice by R&D experts, creative inputs as well as stitching facilities and dedicated wash development laundry facility under one roof for its clients. The Indian denim market may boast a production capacity of 1.4 billion metres with more than 30 players in the segment but with an annual production capacity of 108 million metres, Arvind remains a leading producer of denim. Yet, the company’s true blue challenge lies in adding ecoconscious facets to its world domination plans. “Arvind’s business revolves around the three main pillars of design, innovation and sustainability. We value innovation as one of our driving pillars,” says Vijay Shrinivas, who’s the head of marketing for the company’s Denim Lifestyle business. With Project Jacquard, Arvind has partnered with Google and Levi’s to create wearable technology in denim. Their advanced NEO Cord (corduroy that fades like denim) and NEO Bubble (lightweight denim fabrics with rich hand feel) technologies use less water discharge compared to conventional dyeing processes. With Arvind’s brand philosophies having taken root in India’s freedom movement, the one innovation that is closest to the company’s heart and ideology is the pathbreaking khadi denim line. “The remarkable appeal of khadi denim is in its home-made and handwoven character. The natural imperfections of hand spinning lend an unparalleled character to the hand-spun yarn. This is further enhanced through the hank dyeing route—it finds life in the handweaving way, where the speed of weaving is so slow that the filling yarn gets enough time to open up and relax in its placement, resulting in a very soft denim. Levi’s has been our biggest buyer since this category was launched,” says Shrinivas. 69

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Raymond’s innovation Technosmart claims to be the “smartest fabric in the world”, featuring moisture management, UV-protection, silky touch and easy care 70

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On the heels of innovation comes collaboration, a fact that Arvind likes to explore across product segments. “Arvind has always believed in industry experts for their inputs to make the products much more appealing. We have partnered with ace designer Rajesh Pratap Singh to promote the khadi category,” says Shrinivas. Arvind and INVISTA have partnered for innovations in denim in the performance categories (Coolmax, Tough Max, Thermolite, Thermolite Infrared, Cordura Denim). Their Tencel and Modal® blends were developed in partnership with Austriabased manufacturer Lenzing. “Apart from that, we partner with laundries in Turkey, Italy and the US to get the best washes and incorporate trending elements in products,” he adds, illustrating how a healthy exchange of ideas is paying off for Arvind. Much like Raymond and the ‘cool wool’ brainwave. When Merino wool producers Woolmark Company needed an advocacy partner, it was Raymond they turned to for support and vision. After all, India’s largest wool worsted fabric manufacturer knew how to warm the market up. “Being an industry leader, Woolmark partnered with us to promote wool and educate people about its key benefits— breathability, thermos-static qualities, effective moisture management properties and luxurious look and feel.

The fabric stays cool in summer and warm in winter,” explains Pokhriyal. Enter the Cool Wool project initiated by the two entities, featuring fashion’s finest—Rajesh Pratap Singh, Troy Costa, Gaurav Jai Gupta and Dhir—who have added their inimitable designer touch to the concept through fashion shows and previews. A lot like Grasim (the Aditya Birla Group flagship company) and its textile innovation LIVA, a fabric made from nature-based fibres of Birla Cellulose. Reportedly, Grasim Industries invested US$14.82 million approximately ( 100 crore) to develop the LIVA brand and the investment seems to be paying off. With the company’s global presence throughout the value chain—from plantation to pulp, fibre to fashion, sustainability has been a key factor in their innovation activities as well. In 2013, the company collaborated with fashion doyen Anita Dongre and her high street brands Global Desi and AND to present the fabric at mainstream fashion week showcases and this partnership sustains to date. For Dongre’s fashionwith-a-cause sensibilities, this “like-minded” collaboration for her mass-focused brands makes perfect sense.


While the Indian textile frontrunners’ growth story shows a positive upward trend, the challenges and


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photograph: jacqui miller/stocksy

Clockwise from left: The dyeing unit at Arvind Limited; Stack of denims; Material swatches Opposite page: Fabric-making at Reliance Industries Limited Previous pages: Machinery that aids in fabric manufacture


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“In terms of textile exports, India (US$22 billion) ranks above Bangladesh (US$2 billion) but below China (US$100 billion)” – Amit Gugnani, Senior VP and head of textile division, Technopak


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competition haven’t dissipated. As per industry chronicler Yarnsandfibers.com, India accounted for 7.3 percent of the world’s manmade fibre/filament output with a production volume of 6.4 million tonnes in 2014. The sector witnessed a spurt in investment during the last five years— (including dyed and printed) attracting Foreign Direct Investment worth US$1.85 billion ( 12,390 crore approximately) from April 2000 to March 2016 (source: ibef.org). “The textile industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of eight to nine percent over the next five years and the apparel industry at a CAGR of 10 percent,” attests Gugnani. While Pokriyal admits that their fabric business is growing on an average of six percent in volumes for over the last 10 years, he believes it needs to grow at a faster pace. With factors such as increasing wool prices as well as spurious goods, flooding the market through Nepal and Bangladesh, turning out to be detrimental to progress, he believes governmental framework and trade pacts may go a long way in helping the industry. And China is proving to be a tough adversary to beat. “China demonstrates higher growth rate in comparison to India and Bangladesh. In terms of textile exports, India (US$22 billion or 1,47,350 crore approximately) ranks above Bangladesh (US$2 billion or 13,393 crore approximately) but below China (US$100 billion or 6,69,700 crore approximately),” says Gugnani. Shrinivas and company may expect denim exports to increase from the current 25 percent to 40 percent in the next few years, owing to increased investments in the industry but there are a few glitches in the bigger canvas that need to be ironed out. “India does not have enough garment manufacturing facilities compared to vertical players in other regions. The global competition is moving towards offering an end-to-end solution to the customer and India is lagging behind,” he says. According to Bhandari, with the help of conducive government policies, India can use its textile domination to become a key player in the international apparel market. “India currently exports fabrics to apparel manufacturers in Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh, which then export apparel to markets such as the US and Europe. In India, the best fabrics are available at home and it can focus on wool worsted, synthetic quality apparel to meet the needs of key exports markets. A policy push from the government to make Indian apparels competitive in the international market is key to capturing a larger piece of the international apparel business,” he adds.


While Union Textile Minister Smriti Zubin Irani may have used the month of August to drive a multi-fangled, industrywide social media campaign in favour of the handloom industry, she has also taken the initiative to reach out to other factions of the textile universe. As per a PTI report, Irani sought suggestions from the Wool and Woolens Export Promotion Council (WWEPC) at a meeting in July. The council said in a statement, “The minister has assured full support from the government to solve the issues of the

industry and boost exports. [She] also sought suggestions from the stakeholders for development of this sector to generate additional employment opportunities.” At the inauguration of Source India 2016 in Surat, Gujarat, in August, Irani urged textile entrepreneurs to prioritise the use of organic dyes and work towards branding like Sri Lanka’s ‘Garments without Guilt’ certification, which helped increase exports. According to agency reports, she told industry members, “In this period of competition, Indian silk cloth is being sold in the international market as Thai Silk. Surat has a 40 percent market share of the country’s total synthetics production, while the silk textile industry sector is well established in southern India. My advice to the industry players of Surat is to look into the silk sector segment, along with the synthetic sector, to tap new business opportunities.” And even as the powers that be and industry leaders debate policy changes and governmental support, the dreamers and designers are hopeful of collaborations between handloom and powerloom sectors and driving India’s textile economy to exponential growth. Dhir believes that if both factions work in tandem, it will benefit everyone—yarn makers, textile manufacturers and designers. “The future lies in handlooms working with mills. This interdependence is where magic will be created. While seasoned manufacturers can lend support in R&D of fabrics, the trickle-down effect of those designs can then be taken to the mass production level to create the finest products,” says the designer. Wishful thinking or a winning warp and weft strategy, only time will tell.

The textile sector witnessed a spurt in investment over the last five years, attracting Foreign Direct Investment worth US$1.85 billion ( 12,390 crore approximately) from April 2000 to March 2016. It is expected to grow at a Compound annual growth rate of eight to nine percent in the next five years Opposite page: Finished denim on display Previous pages: Denims get a stone-washed look


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DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Since the induction of women in the Armed Forces in 1992, their strength has grown multifold—from 50 in the first year to thousands now—and they are steadily growing into leadership roles. Padmaparna Ghosh shares the stories of five inspiring army women


The Indian ARMY

arlier this year, President Pranab Mukherjee announced the induction of women in combat roles across all sections of the Armed Forces, starting with the Indian Air Force from June 2017. This is likely to significantly boost the number of women in the Indian Army, although they have been serving for almost 25 years. Women were first inducted in the Military Nursing service in 1927, the Medical Officers Cadre in 1943 and the induction of Women Officers in the Army as Short Service Cadets was approved in 1992. Today, women hailing from diverse regions and backgrounds are slowly but surely making their way to leadership roles. Many say that attitudes and mindsets towards them have evolved over the decades. But the fastest way mindsets change is when men work with women. With those changes set in motion, here are the tales of five women who have surmounted huge social, personal and systemic odds to flourish in a field that was, until recently, limited to men. From crisis situations and perilous adventures to sheer passion, they illustrate how they are serving in India’s military and changing its face. 78

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Captain Divya Ajith Kumar

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Captain Divya Ajith Kumar

Commanded the first all-women contingent of the Armed Forces in the Republic Day Parade 2015 and became the first woman to be awarded the Sword of Honour during her training In just five years of service, Kumar became a household name and an inspiration to women across the country when she led the first all-women Army contingent in the Republic Day Parade last year, attended by US President Barack Obama. As a teenager, though, Kumar, 27, had wanted to join the civil services. “Even then, I wanted to join the IPS because I loved the uniforms. I didn’t even know women were in the Army till I joined the NCC. Things changed after that,” she says. Kumar, who was commissioned in 2010, became the first woman to be awarded the coveted Sword of Honour, which is presented to the best cadet of a course (that year, the course included 244 cadets, of which about 70 were women). About the gender ratio in the training courses, she says, “The previous year, there were just 25-30 women and the following year, almost 130.” Right after her training, Kumar was posted at Anantnag in Jammu & Kashmir and says that is exactly the kind of rigorous initiation she had hoped for. Kumar, who is currently undergoing training, has also made her mark in shooting competitions, having won a gold medal for her sharpshooting prowess at the General JJ Singh Officers Air Weapons Competition in 2012.

Commanded one of two climbing teams of the Indian Army Women Everest Expedition in 2012 She jokingly refers to herself as a “lowlander” but 34-year-old Bhatnagar’s experience in the Indian Army is anything but. She led a part of the 22-member contingent that scaled Mount Everest as part of the Indian Army Women Everest Expedition 2012. “On 26 May, we were on top and there was nowhere else to go,” she says. Bhatnagar was an early bird. She joined the Army at 20, where the average age is 24—“I was the baby,” she says, clearly enjoying the nickname, even after over 14 years in service. “I was always an outdoorsy person, the tomboy of the family,” says Bhatnagar, who comes from a civilian background. However, she knew early on that she wanted to join the forces. “The only question was whether it would be the Army or the Air Force,” she remembers. The decision was made for her—she missed the height requirement for the Air Force by 2cm. She joined the Indian Army in 2002 and says that there’s been a significant change in attitudes towards women since. “There are so many of us now. We are like salt and water—now we are everywhere.” In her technical tenure, the four-time Siachen

Lieutenant Colonel Mitali Madhumita, SM

Saved several lives during the February 2010 Kabul attack, and became the first Indian woman officer to be awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry in 2011 It was her flair for languages that came in handy at one of Lieutenant Colonel Mitali Madhumita’s toughest times. During the infamous February 2010 Kabul attack, two guest houses were bombed, killing and injuring several of her

photograph: Anshuman Sen

Major Neha Bhatnagar, VSM

officer (always ready with a smile) points out all the badges on her crisp uniform—the Everest badge, the Vishisht Seva Medal, three Commendation Cards and a Distinguished Service Medal. Bhatnagar thrives on adventure—she’s just back from Australia, where she climbed Mount Kosciuszko and surfed and scuba-dived in the deep sea. “Thankfully, the Army encourages these activities. I want to go skydiving and do more of aero sports. And of course, there are so many more mountains to climb. Think of anything, I want to do it all,” she says. Of all, climbing still holds a special place for her. Mountaineering since 2009, she trained in Siachen and in remote areas beyond Manali for the Everest expedition. She says, “Anyone who has ever held an ice axe has heard the echo of Everest in their heart.”


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Part of the 22-member contingent led by Major Neha Bhatnagar scaled Mount Everest as part of the Indian Army Women Everest Expedition on 26 May 2012 Opposite page: Major Neha Bhatnagar

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Captain Priya Semwal

Joined the Army at the age of 27 years, after the death of her soldier husband, and is now the first martyred soldier’s wife to become a commissioned officer Married to a jawan when she was just 20, Semwal didn’t have much say in the course of her life. But when she was 27, she had to make some critical decisions all by herself. Her husband Naik Amit Sharma died during Operation Orchid in Arunachal Pradesh in 2012. Semwal had just completed her MSc degree while also bringing up her five-year-old daughter. “I didn’t stop studying. My husband had supported me. He was a darling. But his death was the U-turn of my life,” she says. In the days after Sharma’s death, Semwal was suffused with pity. “Everyone forgot that I was a person and kept calling me ‘bechari’. I hated that word,” she says. It was Sharma’s commanding officer (CO), Colonel Arun Agarwal, who seeded the idea of joining the Indian Army as an officer. “I thought he was joking. But just hearing the word ‘bechari’ would set me on fire,” says Semwal, a swift, excited talker.

Captain Priya Semwal

It was the encouragement of her brother that finally made her take the next step forward. Five months after Sharma’s death, Semwal took the Services Selection Board (SSB) exam. After a few medical test complications preceding her selection and on a particularly disappointing day, she remembers that Colonel Agarwal had said three words to her, which she has imbibed as her life’s motto, “Never give up”. Those words have taken the 29-year-old through her training, during which she received 12 medals (for endurance, physical training and outdoor training) and two gold medals for cross-country racing. Semwal, who is the first martyred soldier’s wife to become a commissioned officer, says, “From a jawan’s wife to becoming an officer, my life has changed completely. I truly understand what it is to be responsible for your jawans,” she says. Presently posted with the Indian Army Corps of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers, Semwal lives away from her daughter for months on end. But she believes this life is making her daughter stronger. She adds, “Women have the power within themselves. We just have to recognise it.”

photograph: Anshuman Sen

colleagues. Madhumita, of the Army Education Corps, was merely 2km away and one of the first to reach the spot. Her bravery and astuteness helped save several lives, for which in 2011, she was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry and became the first Indian woman officer ever to be honoured with it. “During those moments of mayhem, I was glad I’d picked up the local language Dari on my own initiative. It came handy at the time of crisis,” she explains over the phone. In 2010, Madhumita was also one of the first women officers to go to Kabul and to lead a training team. The 39-year-old’s love for languages is evident and is relevant for use in the Army, where she teaches communication skills. The Rourkela-born Madhumita was an early entrant to the NCC, where she flew gliders and won the all-India gold medal for aero modelling. “Around 1995, we saw mostly male officers, but I fell in love with the disciplined lifestyle. It changed my view about life. I loved the adventure, and of course, the glamour of the uniform,” she says. Commissioned in 2000 as a lieutenant, Madhumita was ecstatic with her first posting in Jammu & Kashmir. “It was an extremely hectic time. The Kargil War had just ended and my brigade moved around a lot across the state, almost like the Bakarwals,” she says, laughing. In her 17th year of service, Madhumita received the General Officer Commanding in-Chief’s Commendation Card for professional excellence this Independence Day.


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Major Poonam Sangwan, VSM

my commissioning in 2007, he reminded my grandmother of this conversation,” she reminisces. When she joined the NCC, Sangwan’s father bought her a tailor-made uniform. “He would say, ‘Beta, your uniform should speak for you’. So, I always have it ironed, properly creased with shining badges,” she says. Sangwan does have a lot of badges to polish—the Vishisht Seva Medal (2013) for summiting Mount Everest in 2012, the Engineers Medal (Drill and Turnout) in 2007, a Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card in 2016 for distinguished service. Now, in her fifth tenure at the Ammunition Depot, Sangwan says, “I loved endurance sports. I would run with my rifle, climb ropes, make good time, and even won a medal during my training year.” It explains her fifth ranking in the 12km cross-country race she participated in while posted in Jodhpur. Currently on maternity leave, Sangwan doesn’t mind fielding occasional calls and sorting out operational wrinkles at her depot. She says, “You have to be good at what you do. The rest is incidental.”

photograph: Pankaj Anand

Won several awards including the Vishisht Seva Medal, the Everest badge, the Engineers Medal (Drill and Turnout) and Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card for distinguished service “My father wanted me to become a doctor in the Armed Forces but I wasn’t interested,” says Sangwan, a secondgeneration officer.“I always liked sports, especially athletics, basketball and volleyball,” says the 32-year-old. It was in her second year at college when Sangwan’s interests crystallised. She joined the NCC and signed up for the Republic Day parade. “There I saw so many officers with badges and medals on their uniforms. I was endlessly fascinated by and impressed with them,” she says. At the time, she felt ill-equipped to join the forces, even though she was judged the Best Cadet for the Delhi Directorate. “When my father wanted me to go to college, my grandmother said, ‘What is the point of wasting money, in the end, she’ll be married to an officer’. He had remarked then, ‘Before that, she’ll become an officer’. On the day of

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The Indian NAVY

A sea change In preparation for a circumnavigation slated for 2017, six Navy women completed an open-ocean voyage against all odds and became the first all-women Indian crew to do so. Padmaparna Ghosh speaks to the sailors who made history


creamy, floral birthday cake awaited the all-women Navy crew the day they landed at INS Mandovi Boat Pool, Goa on July 14. Among the six was Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati, who had turned 27 the same day—the day the Indian Navy’s first all-women crew finished its open-ocean voyage in the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Mhadei (INSV Mhadei). Skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, 27, a trained naval constructor, INSV Mhadei, the Navy’s only ocean-going sailboat, completed the 5,000 nautical mile distance in 40 days. The young team had set off on May 24 from the same spot to reach Mauritius in 20 days. This trans-equator voyage through the rough southern seas as well as the heavy monsoon weather in the Arabian Sea was, however, only a taster. It was a training voyage meant to harden the crew in preparation for a much more arduous expedition— a circumnavigation in 2017. Dressed in full-sleeved, double T-shirts (to protect them from the unforgiving sun in the open seas), bright socks and neon, reflective sunglasses, the six women sailed into Goa on a gleaming white boat to a cheering audience of naval officers and photographers. A vibrant, enthusiastic group when together, all six come from diverse regions and backgrounds— from Andhra Pradesh to Manipur to the northern Himalayas— and underwent rigorous training to prepare. “This was new for almost all of us. We learned a lot on dinghies and laser boats in Mumbai, the aerodynamics and theories of sailing, navigation, meteorology and communication systems, to prepare for any eventuality. Our mentor Commander Dilip Donde put a lot of faith in us,” says Joshi, the quietest in the team. Out of the six, Lieutenant P Swathi, 26, is the only one married. “I got married a week before I left. I was having a ball celebrating my honeymoon with these girls. Shopping is fun even without your husband,” she says, laughing. Swathi’s Navy dreams go way back. Her mother worked as a domestic caretaker for a naval officer’s family. “My parents might have educated my three sisters and me at good schools, so we wouldn’t have to do similar work.” She adds, “There wasn’t a single moment I didn’t think of becoming a naval officer.” Encouraged by her mother, she joined the NCC. In Visakhapatnam, where she was brought up, her house was 3km from the naval base, one she passed by almost daily. Today she works as an air traffic controller but sailing was an early love. Swathi began sailing when she was 13, and had volunteered for the Cape to Rio yacht race in 2013, considered the precursor to any circumnavigation. 85

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facilities into luxury. Landing in Mauritius after 20 days of sailing, Boddapati just wanted a shower. “God, I had the longest bubble bath. That’s what you really miss. And we quickly checked out how cosy the beds were,” says Boddapati. Joshi, however, pointed out that the transition is not as easy. “The funny thing is when you actually see those cushy beds after so many days at sea, you can’t sleep at night. In the boat, the bed feels like a cradle that lulls you to sleep. And you are still wired to a timing system. You always have a watch coming up,” she says. The watches on the boat were conducted in pairs, for four hours each, but in the end, everyone was responsible for everyone else. Lieutenant Shougrakpam Vijaya Devi, 27, from Manipur, experienced the most seasickness. “I threw up practically every day in the beginning. You feel drowsy and sleepy when outside and don’t feel like eating anything. My teammates would say, ‘You have to eat or else you will die!’ They would scare me but would also try to convince me as if I was a baby, at times,” says Devi, an adventure lover and keen racer. Every single obstacle and every single success was a new experience for the crew. They were on their own for the first time and not sailing as trainees any more. “Once we lost one of our steerings and experienced some autopilot problems. You have to juggle between all the available resources and make the right decision. Plus, the sea was pretty rough

photographs: Adil hasan

But sailing did not come as easy to everyone much as they loved the adventure. For Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta, 25, the youngest of the group, the armed forces experience has been a test of resilience. One of the first things she shares with me, with utmost equanimity, is that she took the SSB exam five times. “The first time, I was rejected on the first day itself. The other three times, on the fifth day. But I wanted it badly. I used to travel every single day from home to college, a distance of 15km, and right in the middle was IMA, Dehradun. I’d see everyone from the forces—cadets marching and running around. They looked so smart,” she says, talking nineteen to the dozen. Gupta was posted in INR Chilka, where sailing was prominent. “Cadets used to go sailing daily—the sailors’ academy’s [located] there. When you think of the Navy, what do you think of? Water? Ships? But as an education officer, you won’t get the opportunity to be on a ship. I joined the defence forces to do something different and not to sit behind the desk,” she says. In 2015, when she went for the Republic Day parade, she found out about this sailing project and she put in her name. She was selected.“The best thing about sailing is it isn’t a sitting job. I don’t like admin jobs [she once worked as a search analyst in Gurgaon for 18 months]. I wanted experiences which you wouldn’t get otherwise,” she adds. Living for weeks on a sailboat the size of a small flat in Mumbai can transform even the most basic 86

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From left: Navy caps; Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta, Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal and Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati Opposite page: Jamwal, Boddapati, Lieutenant P Swathi, Lieutenant Shougrakpam Vijaya Devi, Gupta and Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra on INSV Mhadei

all the way, especially in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Joshi. While they were surrounded by water throughout, freshwater was a treat. Showers had to be taken in seawater, or rainwater when it rained. Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal, 26, who is an air traffic controller from Kullu, says, “If it rains in the daytime, great. You can just take a shower on deck or bathe with water collected in the sails. These are primitive secrets we’re sharing with you.” Everyone laughs loudly. While rain is awaited with the promise of a good shower, the worst weather days are the windless days. “They are just static. You can’t do anything. It is hot and boring. We wait for the winds,” says Devi. To beat boredom, UNO cards came to the rescue. Boddapati taught the crew to play the game and by the end of the journey, the cards were in tatters. As for entertainment, they had several hard disks on board, filled to capacity with TV shows and movies. The most popular shows were Quantico, Game of Thrones and The Last Ship— the last one is an appropriately themed show based on a naval crew on board a US Navy missile destroyer. “Now, whatever we want to watch, we save for sailing days. We watched The Conjuring movies. It is safe to watch these movies because you know even ghosts can’t get to the boat,” adds Devi. On the next day, the team is busy cleaning up the boat and polishing off the marks of a long voyage. They scatter along the deck as the balmy evening

wind in Goa picks up. Jamwal says, “Of course there are days when the weather is rough, some rope is stuck at 2am and it is pouring like hell. You ask yourself what made you choose this. But at the end of it all, now that we are back on the shore, in Goa, I can say that it was a great adventure.” Circumnavigation may not get as much fanfare as climbing Everest or skiing to the South Pole. But it still is one of the wildest adventures this planet has to offer—a journey of almost 22,000 nautical miles all the way around the planet, over tempestuous seas and through calamitous weather. For India, the path was opened by Commander Dilip Donde—the first Indian to complete a single-handed circumnavigation under sail in 2010—who also mentored this all-women team. Soon, Commander Abhilash Tomy followed, solo and unassisted. Next year, this women’s team will be setting off on its journey but they have to prepare hard for it. The Cape to Rio yacht race that starts on 1 January 2017 is a part of the pre-circumnavigation training. Like any other adventure, there are days when they question their decision and other days when they cannot imagine doing anything else in the world. Open seas are unpredictable and can often throw unprecedented difficulties. Handling a sailboat in such weather is a masterful choreography of skill and speed. “The good thing,” says Jamwal, “is that the sea or the boat doesn’t know if you’re a man or a woman. It will treat you the same way.” 87

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flying high This year, the Indian Air Force made international news by announcing that it had recruited three women fighter pilots; still a rarity globally. But women in the IAF have been exploring new frontiers for years. Shunali Khullar Shroff meets five exceptional officers. Photographs by Adil Hasan

The Indian Air force


hese five women have flown in from different Air Force bases from across the country early this morning to Hindon Air Force Station near Ghaziabad. Much has been said and written about the allure of men in uniform, but these spirited young women officers in their crisp IAF blues are overwhelmingly charismatic. All five are not only exploring new frontiers in male-dominated bastions but also responding to a higher calling to serve the nation.

Wing Commander SK Minhas

Left to right: Sqn Ldr Nivedita Choudhary, Wg Cdr K Maheshpriya, Sqn Ldr Anioushka Lomas, Sqn Ldr Shaliza Dhami, Wg Cdr SK Minhas

First woman Cat Aye fighter controller, 19 years of service Joining the IAF was an obvious choice for Minhas, whose father was himself an engineer in the Air Force. Her father’s last posting was in Chandigarh, where Minhas first began to dream of a career in flying. It was the lure of the uniform and the fact that she belonged to a generation that grew up fascinated with Tom Cruise in Top Gun. “I was young and impressionable, and everything looked so cool,” Minhas reminisces. “I knew I could not be a pilot because I did not have the perfect eye sight, but the prospect of being a fighter controller really excited me. It is a specialised branch that looks over the defense of the entire Indian air space. This involves control of all ground-based artillery weapons, air craft interceptors in the air... you might have seen similar screens in Hollywood movies,” she explains. Minhas joined the IAF in 1997 as a pilot officer, and found herself in Barmer, near Jodhpur during her first posting. “It was an intense time for me because I had to study a 89

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lot for the first 5-6 years. We had physics, math, radar tech details, etc. I had to work very hard to train and to try and get into the system. You are working in the ops room and you are the only officer. You have to earn the respect of the team of airmen working under you,” she says. “When you join a technical branch like ours, nobody in the unit differentiates a lady officer from a man,” says Minhas. “But the first thing that hit me back then and it is something that I continue to realise even today after 19 years of service is that there are mostly only men around.” Being around men has made an impact. “I have begun to think like a man. It is hard for me to relate with women now! In the Air Force you are an officer first, then a lady. Men treat you like an equal although they do exercise restraint in your presence; they don’t used foul language, for example,” she says. “If a cuss word does slip out from them they apologise immediately. This is the least they can do given that they are in the majority,” she laughs. Is she aware of the awe her being an air force officer commands outside of the forces? “I do realize it sometimes. Like when I go through security at a civil airport, the guards look at me like they would at any other passenger till they see my ID card. Then a warm smile spreads across their face. It is very gratifying.”

Wing Commander K MAHESHPriya

First woman fourth line service engineer for helicopters, 14 years in service Priya first felt became acquainted with the patriotic stirrings within her when at the age of nine, while attending a flag hoisting in her PWD colony along with her mother and sister. “I felt an indescribable rush when the national anthem played. I knew then that I had to work for the nation.” An electrical engineer and aerospace standards auditor by qualification, Priya grew up in a small town near Coimbatore. “I come from a very middleclass family. I would have not crossed the southern peninsula of the country had I not joined the forces,” she says. “I have always been patriotic, and joining the IAF as an aeronautical engineer was the best decision of my life. No amount of money can buy you this uniform or the feeling that comes with wearing it,” says Priya with palpable pride. “And it sounds like a cliché, but if it came to that, I would happily die for my country,” she says. “On the surface, it seems like a lot of fun. The officers’ mess, the parties and the promise of a good life. But to get to this lifestyle one has to go through rigorous training, both mental and physical, and not everybody can withstand the indoctrination. That is why I always say that this rank has to be earned.” Wg Cdr K Maheshpriya specialises in twin-engine helicopters, the Mi-17s. Not only does she handle their periodical maintenance, she routinely strips opens choppers and overhauls engines within 90 days.

“It is a machine after all, we have to be sure it flies well through its life span,” she says. “I’m constantly reminded of my responsibilities. The safety of the pilots and other people who fly in these machines are in our hands, after all,” she says. Married to a mariner who joins her wherever she is posted, Maheshpriya is also a mother to nine-yearold twin boys. “I love the forces. When my sons grow up, I am ready to give both of them to the Army, Navy or Air Force, whoever will have them,” she says.

Squadron Leader Shaliza Dhami

IAF’s first woman flying instructor, 13 years of service Growing up in Ludhiana to parents who were in government jobs, Dhami wrote in her 9th standard slambook that she wanted to be a pilot. That is her earliest recollection of wanting to join the Air Force. Today she flies Chetak and Cheetah helicopters as an instructor and has clocked 2,300 hours of flying during her 13 years in the IAF. It’s first qualified flying woman instructor and mother to a seven-year-old, Dhami’s life is all about training cadets and trainee army officers till they are competent enough to take their first independent sorties. “I still remember that day at the academy in Hyderabad in 2003 when I took my first solo flight on the HPT-32 Deepak, a basic trainer aircraft. It was at the downwind when I


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Dhami’s greatest learning from her career has been an ability to trust. “Believing in the people you work with is critical”

Sqn Ldr Shaliza Dhami Opposite page: Wg Cdr Maheshpriya

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turned to ask my instructor to do a check, and realised that I was entirely by myself. It was an indescribable feeling. I felt confident—and I felt grateful,” she says. By now, flying a chopper comes more naturally to Dhami than driving a car. “At least nobody comes in my way,” she laughs. Dhami’s greatest learning from her career has been an ability to trust. “Believing in the people you work with is critical. I fly an aircraft that my ground crew signs and certifies. I fly it in good faith. This is not seen very commonly in the civil world,” she says. “My instructors gave me their best. My achievement isn’t purely my own. I am duty-bound to disseminate all I know till the last moment.”

Squadron Leader Anioushka Lomas

First woman fourth line service engineer for fighters, 8 years of service An electronic engineer by qualification, 29-year-old Lomas grew up in Delhi to an engineer father and an anthropologist mother. Flying was her childhood dream. “I was three when we lived in Dalhousie. The Pathankot airbase was not far, and as a toddler I spent days gazing at the fighter aircraft zipping across the sky,” she says. A determined girl, Lomas knew she wanted to work with nothing less than fighter aircraft. “All the systems you are trained on, you are selected for based on merit. After I completed my training, I had to submit a form with my top three preferences—I wrote Mirage, Mirage, Mirage in all three spaces,” she laughs. And Mirage 2000 is exactly what Lomas got. “I love what I do. Most engineers don’t even get to touch a fighter aircraft, while I get to start the engine, do the checks and strip it open.” Lomas keeps incredibly busy outside of her job: she has a combat para jumping patch; she’s a Hindustani classical singer; and also a newlywed, with a husband who lives in a different city. “It works beautifully. I am a single woman for five days and a married woman on weekends,” she laughs. As a woman, what does it take to thrive in a maledominated field? “A woman officer invests more dedication, hard work and follows a zero-error effort by being more situationally aware and cautious,” states Lomas. “Women have a better capacity to handle emotions and work pressures and are more sensitive to the needs of their colleagues and subordinates, which helps build a good rapport.”

Squadron Leader Nivedita Choudhary

Flight navigator, first woman officer to climb Mount Everest, 9 years of service Choudhary’s uniform is adorned with badges and medals, including the Air Chief’s commendation for being the first woman in the IAF to climb Mount Everest; one medal for desert flying and desert bombing, another for having flown in high altitudes such as the Siachen. As a navigator, she

serves as a “GPS for the pilot,” she explains. Choudhary grew up in Jhunjhunu, a small village in Rajasthan, part of the local flying area. Choudhary found herself mesmerised by two fighter aircraft doing low-level tactics just over her outdoor classroom. “I’ve been fascinated with fighter aircraft ever since.” After studying electrical engineering, she joined the IAF and embarked on two-and-a-half years of training as a mountaineer. Then, Choudhary found herself climbing the death-defying trail up Mount Everest. “I was the first from my group of 18 to reach the summit, but I was without a flag or a photographer. There was another gentleman from Haryana whom the leader of the group had placed his bets on. The photographer was with him. The sherpa left me on top and began his descent. I was alone, the weather was getting worse, I had no water.” Two hours later, when Choudhary started her descent alone, she slipped and ended up dangling over a cliff. Choudhary struggled for 30 minutes before she managed to haul herself back up. Despite that she declares:“I can’t wait to climb all the peaks across seven continents. Women have been proven as better climbers than men.Actually, we are far superior to men so it’s foolish to ask for equality.”


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“Women have been proven as better climbers than men. Actually, we are far superior to men so it’s foolish to ask for equality”

Left to right: Sqn Ldr Shaliza Dhami, Wg Cdr K Maheshpriya, Sqn Ldr Nivedita Choudhary, Wg Cdr SK Minhas, Sqn Ldr Anioushka Lomas Opposite page: Sqn Ldr Anioushka Lomas

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photograph: Hazel Thompson

Architect Suchi Reddy at Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2013 in Milan Opposite page: This kilim by London-based designer Kangan Arora, was manufactured in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh


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From low-cost housing and restoration of presidential palaces to traditionally crafted modern products and space-saving kitchenware, Indian women are changing the world of architecture and design, one sensitive solution at a time. By Divya Mishra

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Sheila Sri Prakash’s 37-year-old practice is responsible for some of India’s most sensitive architecture

Courtesy of Shilpa Architects photograph: R Burman


f design may be defined as an activity undertaken to solve problems, then Indian women have been doing it since the Paleolithic era. Consider the cave paintings at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh. Among delicately rendered scenes of war and revelry are several drawings of humans hunting (and being hunted) by the local fauna. No one knows who drew these figures or why but I have a theory. I believe these paintings were the efforts of Paleolithic women to not just document their lives and beliefs and to communicate with each other but also to mark their existence for future generations—a Paleolithic “I was here”, so to speak. Ever since, Indian women have been getting things done in ways large and small, and it has almost never been easy. For the longest time, architecture and design were considered the most In 1972, when the then 16-year-old Sheila “masculine” of the arts. Probably because historically, things were built more Sri Prakash was being interviewed for as a show of strength and dominance, rather than for the people who needed admission into The School of Architecture and utilised it. Women were often actively deterred from taking up these and Planning, Anna University in Chennai, professions, with certain older practitioners believing that their designs were one of the professors on the panel weak because they factored in their clients’ needs. Fortunately, things are now (probably the kind sent by the gods to changing, with the old order reluctantly coming to the realisation that their test you) asked her if—because of her sensitivity-as-weakness philosophy might apparently inconsiderate ambition—she not actually produce the best designs. What wasn’t depriving a male candidate of a seat. a shocker! “For a young girl with stars in her eyes, I really wasn’t ready for that kind of What is unmistakeable is that women’s question. I told him that I was very serious about my profession but what he designs often come with a certain asked me that day just made me more determined,” says Prakash. Despite thoughtful consideration of environment her class having a dispiriting gender ratio of five girls to 60 boys, Prakash and usage—both aspects often incongruent graduated with flying colours, and within a year of graduating, set up India’s with looming skyscrapers and largefirst women-led architecture firm in 1979. Her now 37-year-old practice has scale infrastructure built purely for been responsible for some of India’s most sensitive architecture, and Prakash commercial purposes. When they do herself is seen as one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable design. design skyscrapers using the same material She’s also part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the palettes (glass, concrete and metal) as Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security forum for the 2016their male contemporaries, the results 2018 term. Although the women’s liberation movement had been in place across the globe for over a decade by the ’70s, the state of things was dismal even internationally. In the late-’70s, when designer Sunita Kohli arrived in Cairo for a meeting regarding a hotel she was commissioned to design in Al-Arish, on the Mediterranean coast, she was faced with a roomful of incredulous men. Shocked by the fact that they were now expected to deal with a woman (the very thought!) and, perhaps doubly so, because she was wearing a sari and sporting a braid that went down to her knees. “But once the discussions and design work began, they recognised and were respectful of what I brought to the table,” says Kohli, generously. A self-taught designer, Kohli has since earned a reputation as a leader in restoration of historical interiors and architecture, and in 1992, became the first interior designer to be awarded the Padma Shri. Partly responsible for the second restoration Top row, from left: Sheila Sri Prakash; Sunita and decoration of Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2010, she has broken stereotypes Kohli Opposite page: This Vadodara home was designed by K2India, set up by Sunita by taking on assignments and going on site visits in places such as Uganda, and Kohelika Kohli Iraq and Pakistan during those countries’ most unstable periods. 96

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photograph: Montse Garriga


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What is unmistakeable is that women’s designs often come with a certain thoughtful consideration of environment and usage


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photograph: Hedrich Blessing; R Burman

Clockwise from top: The corridor of the MCGM building in Mumbai, restored by conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah; Abha Narain Lambah; product designer Neethu Mathew; the Aqua tower in Chicago, designed by Jeanne Gang Opposite page: Spandana Gopal, designer and founder of London-based lifestyle brand Tiipoi

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are things of beauty, like Jeanne Gang’s and somehow, I think this is much better than taking her to piano lessons.” 82-storeyed building in Chicago, called In her own 22-year-old practice, which is largely dominated by women, Aqua. Considered the tallest building in Lambah has tried to create a more women-friendly work environment by having the option of working remotely where possible, and in one case, the world designed by a woman, it appears even setting up a makeshift crèche in her office for an employee who’d used to live up to its name, giving Chicago’s up her maternity leave. skyline what looks like a standing column New York-based architect Suchi Reddy, founder of Reddymade of gently rippled water that magically also Architecture and Design, feels that women have to work twice as hard as men houses humans. to be treated as equals. “The onus is on us to prove that we are smarter and In 2004, the late Dame Zaha Hadid more creative. The real disadvantage is that innovation by women architects became the first woman to win the Pritzker is not really in the public eye.” Architecture Prize, long considered the Aside from large scale projects, Reddy’s firm has worked on residential and Nobel for architecture, effectively storming commercial interiors as well as furniture designs and artistic collaborations. the last bastion of sexism in the field. It Oddly enough, this diverse portfolio has tended to limit her firm’s client base. had been a long time coming, not least “The issue we run into sometimes is that people like to categorise, and we try because the selection process over the 37 to defy categorisation.” years of the prize’s existence has not been Despite the roadblocks, Reddy is grateful for her chosen profession. “It without controversy. In two years—1991 has given me a deep appreciation for creativity of all kinds, and I can safely and 2012—the prizes were given to say that I am never ever bored.” Her firm’s latest project, a large loft in the architects Robert Venturi and Wang Shu Murray Hill area of Manhattan, uses materials such as translucent concrete respectively, ignoring their spouses Denise with embedded fibreglass fibres, electric glass that can go from clear to opaque Scott Brown and Lu Wenyu, both of whom and carved Corian contrasted with stones to create a jewel-like home. were equal partners in the practices. But When Spandana Gopal studied design at Central St Martins in London, things are looking up, albeit slowly, and the gender ratio in her class was equitable, and she feels that design largely because of the efforts of the women practitioners, in London at least, comprise an equal mix of men and women. practitioners themselves. Gopal launched Tiipoi, her London-based lifestyle brand, in an effort to Conservation architect Abha Narain change the perception of Indian design internationally. Her designs use Lambah was once told that she would traditional materials (copper, wood, brass have to marry an architect if she meant and glass) and Indian manufacturing to practice. Lambah studied architecture techniques but reflect an aesthetic that is at what was possibly one of the most liberal educational institutions in the purely contemporary. Along with the task country then—the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, and of translating Indian design sensibility for courtesy that education, always thought of herself as an architect, rather than an audience who sits outside of its context, a “woman architect”. She admits that architecture is not entirely conducive Gopal faces a second challenge: “There is to child-rearing and family life, which results in a high drop-out rate among a certain level of openness and comfort women in architecture. She herself rose to its challenges driven by a passion that culture in India only allows with men, for her work. She says, “I often took my daughter along on my field visits, in situations of manual work, labour and and she’s grown up playing with labourer’s kids and conservator’s kids,

Conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah was told that she would have to marry an architect if she meant to practice From left: Designer Kangan Arora; cushions designed by Arora Opposite page: Designer, artist and actor Lekha Washington with one of her designs


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New York-based Suchi Reddy’s latest project uses translucent concrete with embedded fibreglass fibres, electric glass and carved Corian factories.” But she hasn’t let this stop her. have what it takes to be designers. Possibly because women realise that the This September, at the London Design world has quite enough problems for designers of both genders to solve. Fair, her curated large format exhibition Architect Anupama Kundoo, who shuttles between India and Spain, titled ‘This is India’ showcased Indian focuses on architecture that has low environmental impact and is socially and design practices and their relationship with economically contextual. She believes that while gender does not necessarily their environment. manifest in a different quality of architecture and design, it is important to The pavilion for the ‘This is India’ acknowledge the lack of equal opportunity for women. “The truth is that exhibition was conceptualised by Londonif a woman does not have the basic right to participate in cities and public based designer Kangan Arora, who runs an spaces safely, as a man can, it is bound to manifest in all other areas, not just eponymous design studio that focuses on architecture.” Kundoo also feels that one of interior-fashion textiles. Arora’s design for the greatest challenges she faces is about the pavilion was inspired by the ancient astronomical instruments and jagged discriminating between “what is good for geometries of Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, and manifested “as an installation of one’s inner development and what is not”. over 500 terracotta pots, hand-painted and stacked as circling colonnades, The absence of women in public spheres stepped towers and shaded screens”. is so insidious that London-based product Arora’s family has been in the business of textiles for over a hundred years designer Neethu Mathew—who was named now, and she feels that while the textile space has always attracted more in the UK-based Design Council’s list of women than men, there is now a small but significant shift towards a more ‘70 Ones to Watch’—had never imagined balanced scenario. herself in a leadership position in the design Product designer, actor and artist Lekha Washington, who studied at the field. It was only after switching to a job National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, dismisses any links between her that had a number of women leaders that gender and thought process but finds that it affects the way people react to she realised, “That could be me one day.” her. “I fight hard to have my work be the centre of the discussion rather Kundoo, who set up an installation than the way I look, and it’s an uphill task,” she says. Washington eventually showcasing easily fabricated, beautiful started her own company because she was frustrated by the misogyny in the and affordable housing with minimal Indian film industry, and wanted to express herself as an individual. Since environmental impact at the Venice then, she has designed a range of eclectic furniture and lighting products, and Architecture Biennale this year, believes even had a solo art show in Mumbai. that “As society evolves, it is bound to In 2013, for homeware brand Arttd’inox, Srishti Bajaj designed the aspire towards a better balance. In order strikingly clever Tattva Stack, a combination of the four separate tools of to accelerate this development, it helps if chapatti-making into one space-saving, stackable unit. Her design was not women themselves have the conviction merely functional—it was meant to be beautiful as well, to counter the idea that they do not intrinsically carry any of aesthetics only coming into play outside the kitchen. Bajaj feels that while disadvantage on account of their gender.” design is largely an inclusive field, women have to prove themselves time and That she runs an award-winning practice time again, which is “often exhausting and really quite unnecessary because that is sensitive to environmental, societal as a professional, you just want to get on with the work, and let that speak”. and economic realities, while also being a What is interesting to note here is that there have been no blustering, mother of two, indicates that, if anything, blistering pieces by women design professionals stating that men might not the opposite might be true.

photograph: Caitlin Moore

Architect Anupama Kundoo Opposite page: For the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, Kundoo’s firm designed the eco-friendly and affordable Full Fill Home and Easy WC


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photograph: Sebastiano Giannesini


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Top W



Pallava Bagla presents the best minds in science and technology, their work and their take on the changing gender ratio in their respective fields. Photographs by Pankaj Anand

scientists D

r Tessy Thomas became a household name when Agni-V, India’s first indigenously made intercontinental ballistic missile, was successfully tested in 2012. Her rise to a leadership role— as Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory, part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)—is commendable, considering that women scientists and engineers struggle to break the proverbial glass ceiling. This is despite the fact that girls routinely outperform their male classmates in school and university examinations. Dr Manju Sharma, the first woman to become the secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, says, “Though most university gold medals are bagged by women, only a few go on to become professional researchers and an even smaller number reaches the top hierarchy in academic and research institutes.” However, this scenario is not exclusive to India—as per a global report released by UNESCO, women made up just 26 percent of the science workforce in 2011.


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Dr Rohini Godbole, professor, Centre for High Energy Physics, IISc


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Seismologist Dr Kusala Rajendran, professor, Centre for Earth Sciences, IISc


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The Indian government is well aware that the current representation of women scientists in the country is not ideal. Recently Dr HarshVardhan,Union Minister of Science &Technology and Earth Sciences,addressed parliament,saying that the representation of women in science is“steadily increasing,though it is still not at par with their male counterparts”.In a special interaction with top scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also noted that the low representation of women in the planning and policy making sections in science and technology is a matter of concern. This galvanised the machinery into action and a standing committee to correct the situation has been constituted. The Department of Science & Technology (DST) has also consolidated all its women-centric programmes under KIRAN, or Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing. The budget allocation for such initiatives is pegged at almost US$9 million approximately ( 60 crore) in this fiscal year, up from approximately US$6.5 million approximately ( 43 crore) in 2013-2014. A new Mobility Scheme has also been launched to ensure that young researchers continue their work, even if they relocate post-marriage. A 2010 report by DST points out that even in big civilian research organisations like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), women constitute a mere 16 percent of the scientific workforce. The situation gets worse as women progress in their careers. A government report finds that women constitute just about five percent of the total elected fellows in India’s science academies. On the other hand, the country’s foremost body, the Indian National Science Academy in New Delhi, in its almost eight decades of existence, has never elected a woman as its president. Like ‘missile woman’ Thomas, there is the example of India’s ‘biotech queen’ Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Limited, who, using her training as a microbiologist, pioneered the biotechnology industry in India. She was recently named one of the 100 most influential women in the world by Time magazine. It is not easy to succeed in the male-dominated world of science, so in being a successful entrepreneur, did she pay a price? “I got married only at 44,” Mazumdar-Shaw has said in the past. “My work was so important that I didn’t even think about having a family. I missed having a child. But that’s a sacrifice.” She says she is happy with all that she has achieved. “I have made discoveries about myself and have learned to get ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” she told Business Today magazine in 2011. However, the industry is optimistic. As Professor Padmanabhan Balaram, former director of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), puts it, “I suspect that the glass ceiling will Earth quaker crumble, much as the Berlin Wall did Dr Kusala Rajendran many years ago, under the weight Professor, Centre for Earth Sciences, IISc of undeniable aspirations.” And Rajendran chases earthquakes and tsunamis on a regular basis, in crumbling it is. We may not have as her role as seismologist. Her most important playground is the Himalayan many as we’d like but there are a region, where, owing to a quirk of continental history, the Indian land mass is number of women scientists, who are constantly being pushed under the Asian land mass. This geological pull stretches leading the change. Here are their the rocks to become taut, much like a stretched rubber band, and when the strain success stories. becomes unbearable, it breaks loose, resulting in an earthquake. So far, we haven’t been able to forecast earthquakes, despite deploying state-of-the-art technology. This makes Rajendran’s research really important, especially since a large population of our country lives in highly vulnerable zones. Rajendran, who was raised in a conservative setting, moved from then-Trivandrum in Kerala to Uttar Pradesh and completed her Master of Technology degree in the field of Applied Geophysics from IIT Roorkee in 1979. She graduated from University of South Carolina, USA, with a Doctor of Philosophy in Seismology in the year 1992. In her work, Rajendran hopes to uncover hidden clues that may emerge from studying the palaeoseismic signatures to “identify vulnerable zones and predict the effects of ground shaking in the future”. Together with her husband, renowned geologist Dr CP Rajendran (who is also active at the Centre for Earth Sciences), she has unearthed geoarchaeological evidence of a tsunami that hit the ancient port at Kaveripattinam in southeast India during the Chola Period.

Dr Kusala Rajendran hopes to uncover clues from studying palaeoseismic signatures to “identify vulnerable zones and predict the effects of earthquakes” 107

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India’s ‘Agni Putri’ Dr Tessy Thomas Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, DRDO In the world of defence armaments, Thomas stands tall in the Hyderabad-based laboratory. Some of India’s most advanced missile systems in the Agni series have been developed by the teams she’s led. The success of India’s Agni-III 2011 missile, with a range of over 3,000km and capable of carrying nuclear warheads, as well as Agni-V, the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, have her imprint all over them. On India’s highly guarded missile testing site, located on the tiny Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha, Thomas, dressed in a no-nonsense kasavu sari, ensured all systems were go. In a rare gesture, in 2012, the then-prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh hailed Thomas as an example of “a woman making her mark in a traditionally male bastion and decisively breaking the glass ceiling”. The Alappuzha-born engineer, who graduated with an MTech degree in Guided Missile from the Institute of Armament Technology, Pune (now known as the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology), says she has been able to rise into this ethereal space thanks to her supportive family, and describes the so-called “toys for big boys” she crafts as “weapons of peace”.

science and technology is not ‘engendered’ enough. There is a certain ‘masculinity’ inherent in the fact that so much money tends to be lavished on IT, defence, space, nanotechnology and so on. On the other hand, socio-economically or socio-culturally oriented fields, which require more support at the grass roots level, get neglected much more.”

“At a conceptual level, the world of science and technology is not ‘engendered’ enough” – Dr Sharada Srinivasan

photograph: Pallava Bagla

Physics pioneer Dr Rohini Godbole Professor, Centre for High Energy Physics, IISc Her playground is the world’s largest underground scientific machine—the International Linear Collider—that straddles two European countries, Switzerland and France. Almost 100m below the surface of the earth is the 27km-long circular tunnel, where, along with a team of theoretical physicists, Godbole helped discover the elusive God Particle. This discovery helped cement a long-standing hypothesis by Peter Higgs. She studies the behaviour of subatomic particles and the nature of dark matter. Between matter and antimatter, today, she is at the forefront of deciphering the intricacies of supersymmetry. The IIT Bombay alumna is at the frontline fighting for the rights of women scientists. She has co-authored the book Lilavati’s Daughters: The Women Scientists of India, which profiles some of India’s best known female minds and represents the Indian perspective on many global panels in an attempt to bring gender imbalances that exist in the world of science to the fore. The obstacles, she highlights, often stem from the traditional roles that Exploring the ‘art’ women play in India. Godbole recalls in sciences an incident, “I was introduced to a Polish Dr Sharada Srinivasan physicist by my German host while on a sabbatical, and on hearing my Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies name immediately said,‘I have seen Srinivasan wears many hats—the IIT Bombay engineer is papers by your husband’. He couldn’t the anchor for the heritage, science and society programme at fathom that I was the author and not the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru; my then-husband,” she says, “I should an accomplished Bharata Natyam dancer and an exponent of the tell you that I laughed it away then art; and an archaeologist specialising in the study of art, archaeology, and I laugh it away today as well. But archaeometallurgy and culture. Srinivasan’s interest and knowledge about I cannot get rid of a sinking feeling that bronze sculptures during the Chola Period led to the collection when these people evaluate a woman of fingerprints off these masterpieces to solve the mysteries of the stolen scientist, similar biases may play a role. ones. The confidence to forge ahead and carve her niche comes from Neutralising this bias is a significant being raised amidst powerful women. Srinivasan says, “I have a lineage of challenge, I feel... Given the fact that accomplished women going back two generations. Plus, I was exposed women constitute half of humanity, to the legacy of Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai and institutions like their intellectual potential is something the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.” With regard to the gender that we can ill-afford to ignore.” disparity in her field, she says, “At a conceptual level, the world of


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Dr Sharada Srinivasan, professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies


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Suma DR, GM – Satellite Integration and Test Establishment, ISRO


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Drug discoverer Dr Madhu Dikshit Director, Central Drug Research Institute

Discovering new drugs for healthcare is one of the most challenging tasks at hand, especially since success rates are negligible. Having said that, finding that one viable solution can be very rewarding— and it has been so for Dikshit, who oversees drug discovery daily. Her key area of work is decoding how living cells send out distress signals and protect themselves under a bacterial or viral attack. “Cells use nitrous oxide, a gaseous molecule, to do so,” says Dikshit, whose pioneering work has led to a better understanding on how neutrophils (good cells) provide necessary immunity. “These cells essentially commit suicide in trying to rid the body of invaders, the reverse of the dastardly ‘suicide bombers’,” she says. Recalling the days immediately after her wedding in 1984, Dikshit says, “Back then, marriage meant the end of the professional career for most girls but I was lucky to have not only a supporting husband but also an encouraging mother-in-law. This setting allowed me to work with renewed vigour.” Dikshit explains just how difficult it is for Indian women to survive and succeed in the field with this vivid, moving example: “Despite having a sizable number of female students and researchers in the 1990s, the women’s toilet facilities in the department were neither up to mark in number nor quality. I took up this case with authorities and it took over two years to implement changes, due to the sheer inability of this male-dominated field to recognise this as an important issue.” Hopefully, now with Dikshit at the helm of the facility, women will come out as winners.

photographs: Pallava Bagla

Fighting fit Dr Shashi Bala Singh Director, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences Soldiers employ her advice to remain healthy in hostile environments—be it in cramped living spaces of a submarine cruising the depths of the ocean or at Siachen Glacier, the coldest and highest battlefield in the world. Singh, a human biologist, ensures that the million strong Indian Army remains fighting fit. In 2007, Singh created history by joining as director of the world’s highest agro-technology institute, the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research, located at 3,500m, a place most men considered a “punishment posting”. And although Singh took it on as a challenge, she felt that this part of her career helped her “evolve into a better person”. Her innovative approach has ensured health and food security at the Army’s frontier posts. She has also pioneered research on non-conventional Reaching for the stars energy sources, high altitude physiology and development of herbal interventions Suma DR GM, Satellite Integration and Test (nutraceuticals and prophylactics for Establishment, Indian Space Research Organisation several high-altitude maladies) to improve Some of the engineering marvels she’s helped build have performance at high altitudes. For her reached as far away as the moon and Mars. Suma has been contributions, Singh was conferred with instrumental in making machines, fit for space explorations, the Scientist of the Year award in 2010. that can last without any maintenance or tinkering for as long as 15 years at a stretch. Chandrayaan-1, India’s maiden lunar probe in 2008, and Mangalyaan, the country’s first Mars Orbitor launched in 2014, are babies she nursed with care in the Indian Space Research Organisation’s high-tech facilities. Since repairing satellites in space is out of question—it’s cheaper to just make a new one—Suma says, zero-defect manufacturing is imperative. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. It is absolutely vital, she says, for “team members to be comfortable with each other and to disclose the smallest of problems in order to ensure corrective action has been taken”. In the next decade or so, when the first Indian is sent on an India-made rocket launched from Indian soil into space, that astronaut (ISRO hinted it could well be a woman) will surely thank Suma for her role in planning India’s human space flight programme.

Dr Shashi Bala Singh has pioneered research on high-altitude physiology and development of herbal interventions to improve performance at high-altitudes 111

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Chasing good health Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) As head of the country’s foremost health research network of 26 laboratories, Swaminathan is the go-to person for the government, whether in case of dengue fever outbreaks or to verify an Indian entrepreneur’s claim of having developed the world’s first Zika virus vaccine. Her own research revolves around tackling the scourge of tuberculosis, which, the World Health Organization states, had an estimated incidence figure of 2.2 million cases in India in 2015. When asked how she feels about being only the second woman to head ICMR in its 105-year history, Swaminathan says, “It is a matter of concern. [However] I am confident that, in the future, there will be more women in leadership positions in science. I don’t think this is a problem unique to India—if you look around the world, very few science agencies are headed by women. It’s a complex issue and will need some serious thought and action to encourage and support women to aspire to these leadership positions.” However, the biggest challenge in the industry, according to Swaminathan, is “actually getting quality healthcare to those who need it most—urban slum dwellers, tribal and remote, rural populations. Out of pocket expenditure on health pushes millions of Indians further into poverty each year”. She believes that additional funding for health research can ensure India’s well-being in the future.

The queen of cotton Dr Usha Barwale Zehr

Her research as a neuroscientist is well known—at 47 years of age, she had the rare distinction of founding the National Brain Research Centre in Gurgaon. Not many women scientists (not just in India but worldwide) have the opportunity to shape a whole new institution. Ravindranath nurtured it for nine years and then relinquished the administration to get back to bench top research. Today, she has attracted several billions of dollars worth of philanthropic investment to understand the human brain. In her many years in the field, Ravindranath admits to facing gender bias, “But perseverance and determination in addition to commitment and motivation are important to overcome these hurdles.”

“The challenge in healthcare is actually getting quality care to those who need it most”

– Dr Soumya Swaminathan

photographs: Pallava Bagla

Director and Chief Technology Officer, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Pvt Ltd (Mahyco) A sizeable amount of cotton crop grown in India carries Barwale Zehr’s signature. And it has been no easy feat. Born in a rural agricultural setting—Barwale Zehr studied in a Hindi medium school till class seven but then went on to procure a PhD from the University of Illinois, US, in a field of science that deals with increasing agricultural benefits. She brought her learning to Mahyco, founded by her father, and pioneered the introduction of Bt cotton, the genetically modified variety. According to the Indian government’s latest estimate, in almost a decade, over 90 percent of farmers have embraced cultivating Bt cotton, and it is now grown on almost 10 A beautiful mind million hectares of land—even though it has come with its share Dr Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath of controversies. However, in the Chairperson, Centre for Neuroscience, IISc cotton year 2014-15, according to Understanding the functioning of the normal human brain is considered the last frontier of science but trying to decipher the International Cotton Advisory its failings is what really excites Ravindranath. For the Padma Shri Committee, India became the award-winner, the unifying goal of her laboratory is to understand how world’s largest producer of cotton neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (6.51 million tonnes), beating China set in. She points out that knowledge of the onset of these diseases plays a (6.48 million tonnes). paramount role in “discovering drug targets that can be used to develop diseaseBarwale Zehr feels that in modifying therapies”. She adds, “I am also involved in defining and identifying the India, where the traditional active entities and the mode of action that traditional medicinal preparations use to mindset cannot be wished away, treat neurodegenerative disorders, particularly senile dementia.” According to a UN women have to work twice as hard report, India, currently the nation with the largest youth population, is home to about to prove their worth. “Of course, six million people over the age of 80 years. By 2050, this figure is estimated to hit 48 that has changed a lot in recent million, making Ravindranath’s work crucial since “age-related brain disorders add to the disease and economic burden” of a country. years,” she says.


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Dr Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, chairperson, Centre for Neuroscience, IISc


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On the factory floor Indian manufacturing companies are encouraging more women on the shop floor—and here’s why it matters. By Meenakshi Radhakrishnan-Swami Photographs by Arjun Menon

Women workers on the shop floor of Farida Shoes


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Gits Food Products

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In 2010, Gits Food Products began distributing food items to employees, amounting to 7.5kg of provisions monthly, 500gm of two vegetables daily and 1.5kg each of potatoes and onions weekly

t’s 4pm on a Thursday and the Gits Food Products factory in Pune is abuzz with activity—barefooted women in beige caps and aprons tied over saris move around towering heaps of cartons and containers, while others check and stamp the food packets that continuously roll off production lines. Sadhna Ramesh Mane appears small, almost bird-like in her fragility and the speed with which she flits across the crowded, noisy factory. She pauses occasionally to direct workers to switch roles or production lines but, even as she speaks, her eyes dart across the floor, checking whether the lines are running properly. Seventeen years ago, Mane started work at Gits Food Products in the packaging department, manually stamping packages with batch numbers and manufacturing and expiry dates. Then, 10 years later, when the company brought in computerised printing machines, the then 35-year-old volunteered to operate them— even though she couldn’t read or write English and had never worked on machines. “I was nervous initially but I would see the letters on the packages and press identical buttons on the machine,” she recalls. She is now in charge of all 10 printing machines at Gits Food Products, trains newcomers on the use of machines and also heads 13 production lines, with 150 people reporting to her. Some 1,400km to the north, Megha Sharma is assembling commercial air-conditioners at the Carrier factory in Manesar, Haryana. The 25-yearold, who holds a diploma in electrical engineering, has a few months left on her two-year training programme but is already part of the factory’s allwomen line that makes 40 units daily. Instead of the traditional fixed assembly line in which workers repeat the same task day in and day out, this is cartbased manufacture: each worker has an individual station and builds an entire air-conditioner from scratch. This is the first such line at the factory and the all-women team was deliberately chosen to showcase the new way of working. Sharma has spent time across almost all functions in the factory but says this is the work she likes best. “I can make 14 units in a day,” she announces proudly. Predominantly, India Inc has been slow to recognise women as part of the labour force. Several companies, though, are proving that they are aware of the advantages of having women on the shop floor and are going out of their way to hire, nurture and retain female workers. Nearly 15 years ago, Tata Steel kicked off Project Tejaswini, teaching unskilled women workers at its Jamshedpur plant to become operators and drivers of machinery and vehicles. Hindustan Unilever Limited’s nail products manufacturing factory at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, is entirely run by women who are responsible for manufacturing, packing and despatch of up to 3,60,000 units weekly. 117

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JSL Lifestyle’s manufacturing unit for Arttd’nox

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Joining them are companies in the automobile industry such as Anand Group, Cummins India, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto, Ceat Tyres as well as Swiss energy major ABB India and consumer products manufacturing giant Procter & Gamble, among many others.


It’s still not easy for women to get a foot in the door of factory shop floors. Indeed, it’s tough for them to step out of homes and into the workforce at all. Take a look at the numbers. According to the 4th Annual EmploymentUnemployment Survey Report 2013-14 by the Labour Bureau, just 25.8 percent of Indian women aged 15 years and above are working or seeking work, compared with 74.4 percent of men. That’s among the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. And where nearly a third of rural women are part of the labour force, among urban women the figure is only 18.5 percent, while unemployment is at a high 12.4 percent, thrice that of urban men and 2.5 times the national average. What’s worse is that across India, 39 percent women have not joined the labour force despite having received vocational training in different fields. This, when India’s formally skilled workforce is just two percent of the total, while only 6.8 percent of all Indians aged 15 years and above have received or are receiving vocational training. When women do manage to get jobs, they tend to be in low income, low productivity and unsecured jobs. The gender pay gap, to, is all too real: latest data from the National Sample Survey Office shows that on average, men earn 1.6 times more than women in rural areas and 1.3 times more in urban areas. You don’t have to look far for reasons behind these discouraging statistics. “The same taboos and constraints that conspire to hold back women in leadership positions are often more intense for women on the shop floor,” points out Nirmala Menon, Founder and CEO of Interweave Consulting, a Bengaluru-based diversity management and inclusion solutions provider. Societal and cultural proscriptions persist with deeply entrenched gender biases. The result is that even if more girls are being educated, the majority of women still remain housebound. Then, as household incomes rise, the need for the woman’s pay lessens even as pressures of marriage and young families impel withdrawal from the employment pool. Bigger concerns about safety and lack of infrastructure—transport facilities between homes and workplaces, especially—mean the dice are loaded against women workers from the start. Get them into the factory, though, and most companies swear women are nothing short of miracle workers. (“You must meet Sujeetha. She’s a superstar,” exclaims Colin Macdonald, CEO and MD of Renault Nissan Automotive India.) The four Ds—dedication, discipline, diligence and dexterity—are cited by HR head after HR head. Plant managers point out admiringly how male employees have spruced up their act— literally, in most cases. In the company of women colleagues,

men apparently dress neater, clean up their language and manners and are also spurred to work harder. Women, meanwhile, are patient, eager to learn, ask more questions and are quick to suggest simple improvements that directly impact productivity, is the unanimous conclusion. So, what’s the trick to hiring these wonder women and, perhaps more importantly, how do companies keep them on? The short answer: by tackling each of the hurdles that impact women’s participation in the workforce.

Making it happen

When Haryana-based JSL Lifestyle tied up with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to initiate a training programme in stainless steel application in November 2015, recruiting 30 young women for the first batch didn’t seem too difficult. After all, parent company Jindal Stainless has close to 80 women on its payroll, including over 20 at its plant in Jajpur, Odisha. This programme would be far easier—no hot furnaces and sheet metal production, only manufacture of tableware and home décor pieces. It took six months and over five mobilisation drives in nearby polytechnics and villages by JSL Lifestyle HR head Ashutosh Sinha and UNDP State Project Head Kanta Singh before the first fourmonth training programme started in May 2016—with 20, not 30, women. A month later, when the second batch rolled out, there was already a waiting list of potential trainees. This pilot is part of Project Disha, a three-year collaboration between the India Development Foundation, UNDP and Xyntéo and supported by IKEA Foundation, which seeks to provide training, entrepreneurial skill development and employment to over one million women across India. “The idea is to get women into fields that they weren’t working in before. Socio-cultural factors prevent them from joining these sectors, although women are open to taking up the challenges,” says UNDP’s Singh. In the first phase, JSL Lifestyle will train 180 women at its plants in Rohad and Pathredi and then take them on as employees. “We want to continue the programme but that means others have to employ these trained women to make them economically self-sufficient,” says Sinha. For 26-year-old Rajesh Chauhan, leaving a paid job in a nuts-and-bolts factory for an unpaid training programme, albeit with free transport and meals, didn’t seem counterintuitive at all. Having dropped out of school to get married at 13, the mother of four is revelling in the opportunity to study again. Her current stint is in the R&D department, making prototypes of new designs. “I learn CAD software for an hour every day but I don’t like computers. Working by hand is so much more interesting,” Chauhan says. The first woman in her village to take up a job, Chauhan had to battle resistance from not only her in-laws but also neighbours when she decided to work in a factory. “But I am building my future and that of my children,” she says. “Now, more women from my village have started working and they all ask me about working here.” 119

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The team at Carrier

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N Leena of fArida group was sceptical of joining a factory. She says, “I thought it would be dirty and noisy. Now I recommend it to my friends. Ten years from now, I want to have my own company”

Where JSL Lifestyle saw merit in convincing village elders of the benefits of women working in factories, companies such as Godrej & Boyce and Farida Shoes believe in showing, rather than telling. When Godrej & Boyce decided to recruit more women at its appliances factory near Pune, it found that the easiest way of reassuring anxious parents was by inviting them for a factory visit. Priyanka Ratnakar Devadiga is the daughter of a farmer whose holding is about 10km away from the factory. Familiarity with the Godrej brand name came in handy in persuading her parents to agree to her joining the company but it was the factory visit that clinched the decision, she says. “Once they saw for themselves how good and safe the facilities were, they happily consented.” The 26-year-old BSc graduate now works on the split air-conditioner line and is one of 85 women on the shop floor. In the past four or five years, Godrej & Boyce has seen a 53 percent increase in the number of women employees, and now has about 200 women on the shop floor across India, points out Harpreet Kaur, Senior VP and Head, Corporate Personnel and Administration, for the company. “On the shop floor, we recruit women in manufacturing, materials, procurement, stores, R&D, quality assurance and quality control,” she adds. Family visits at Godrej & Boyce happen during recruitment and on cultural events such as Women’s Day. Meanwhile, at Farida Group, every Saturday is family day. But then, it’s operating on a completely different scale. The group runs seven main factories and close to 30 component factories in and around Ambur, Tamil Nadu. Its 22,000 salaried employees make upward of 10 million pairs of shoes every year, all for export. An astounding 95.7 percent of those 22,000 workers are women, the result of a conscious policy dating from the 1980s to hire more women. “Conservative people told me I would burn in hell for wanting women to go out to work,” recalls Mecca Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Farida Group. “Today, the same people who criticised me want their daughters and sisters to work in our factories. Now, not going to work is considered bad.”


Government labour laws provide for several measures to ensure the well-being and safety of women workers in factories. These range from prohibiting them from working in specific industries and with certain types of machinery to detailing the need for female security staff, crèche and locker facilities. As per the Factories Act 1948, women workers are also not permitted to lift more than 30kg of weight by themselves nor are they allowed to work between 7pm and 6am (night shifts are permitted for women in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu). Recently, the Rajya Sabha passed amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, increasing the duration of maternity leave. India now matches countries such as Norway and Canada as a result of this landmark move. 121

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The Renault Nissan factory

For many companies, though, the governmentmandated facilities are merely hygiene factors; their approach to employee welfare goes far beyond. Consider Gits Food Products, where 98 percent of the 250-strong workforce are women, of which 90 percent are the primary breadwinners in their family. Like several other companies, Gits Food Products has always offered lunch and canteen facilities for its employees. In 2010, the company began providing for its employees’ families too. The family-run business then began distributing one vegetable a day to all employees. That has now grown to 7.5kg of provisions monthly, 500gm of two vegetables daily and 1.5kg each of potatoes and onions weekly per employee. “We are a food company; we can’t have hungry employees,” says Samana Tejani, Director, Production, Gits Food Products. At Farida, too, food plays an important role. When HR managers noted high absenteeism in the second shift, which ends at 10pm, they quickly tracked down the reason: women would stay home to cook dinner. The factory canteens provided the solution—giving food packages at subsidised rates to workers to take home at the end of their shift. “We have to be cognisant of the fact that women have other responsibilities,” says Mecca Irshad Ahmed, MD, Farida Shoes. Much of Farida’s employment welfare activities such as health camps, career fairs and free tuition for employees’ children spills over to include the larger community. Ensuring women’s safety and comfort, though, is first priority. The group organises self-defence classes for its women workers, has worked with the local administration to install proper street lighting and is also considering fitting panic buttons on employees’ mobiles to ensure their last-mile safety from the bus stop to their homes. Safe travel to and from work is a big deal, especially with factories located outside city limits. Close to 300 women work at the Renault Nissan (RNAIPL) factory at Oragadam, about 60km from Chennai, of which 175 are on the shop floor, working all three shifts. The automaker provides transport to all employees—160 buses ply throughout the day from the factory to Chennai and back, with reserved seats for women—and also ensures a security guard is present on each bus and women are dropped at their doorstep. “The commute can be upward of 60 minutes one way. We are looking to persuade the workforce to move and live closer to the factory to ensure better work-life balance,” says Macdonald. That’s what Sujeetha has done. Originally from Vellore, she lives on her own in Sriperumbudur, about 15km from the factory. Five years ago, she was one of only two women on the shop floor; now, she’s a team leader in an all-women line in the stamping department that operates across three shifts. Sujeetha’s wedding to a fellow worker is scheduled for January but the 28-yearold is clear that marriage won’t impact her career. “I want to become a Deputy General Manager at least. I want a position of respect in the factory—and in society,” she says proudly. 123

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Making women feel at ease in the workplace goes a long way in ensuring they stick on to their jobs. At RNAIPL, the industrial relations officer is a woman who addresses concerns such as the need for separate locker rooms; Godrej & Boyce has a woman HR Officer at Shirwal as well as a female nurse at the factory clinic; and Farida, too, has a team of women doctors. Companies are also paying attention to the ongoing education and training of women workers—trainees at JSL Lifestyle are given certificates from Project Disha’s partners while Farida offers a range of skill development training programmes with third-party certification. Carrier went a step further in ensuring its trainees, all diploma holders, continue their education. When supervisors learned that some women studying for their engineering degrees weren’t getting enough prep time, the company arranged for tutors to coach them during work hours. “Two of them have already completed their BTech degrees,” points out Anuman Mathur, GM, HR, Carrier.


What else can companies and the government do to make shop floors women friendly? Invest in infrastructure to make the commute to work easy, build hostels and dormitories in case women need to relocate for jobs and encourage more women to learn technical skills and focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, so that they aren’t restricted to “softer” industries and occupations. Affirmative action is required, adds UNDP’s Singh. “Everybody thinks genderneutral policies will help. What we need are gender-specific policies that factor in the structural barriers women face in accessing their rights. Equality exists; we need equity.” The biggest change, perhaps, needs to come from the women themselves. “Managing cultural and gender role expectations is the biggest challenge. Women are not questioning the status quo and, therefore, not making informed choices,” points out Interweave’s Menon. Both Farida and Gits Food Products—companies with a significant female workforce—point to a very real struggle in persuading women to climb up the ladder. “It is a challenge to make them stay on and aspire to executive roles,” says Tejani. That lack of confidence is the result of generations of suppression and won’t go away any time soon. What is reassuring is that, in some quarters at least, companies’ efforts to empower and encourage women is bearing fruit. At Farida Group, N Leena is part of the planning and design department. The 22-year-old has basic computer knowledge and makes detailed drawings of every step of manufacture for different footwear designs. Two years ago, when looking for her first job, she was sceptical of joining a factory. “I thought it would be dirty and noisy. Now I recommend it to my friends,” Leena says. So, does she see a career for herself here? No, is the surprising answer. “Ten years from now, I want to have my own company.” Godrej & Boyce


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S o c i a l Social entrepreneurship is gathering traction in India—and for good reason. In a developing country like ours, there’s no dearth of conditions to fix. All you need is a social bent, a problem to solve and ingenuity in solutions, finds Rashmi Bansal

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The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s kitchen in Bengaluru

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wamiji, you give khichdi prasadam to all who visit the temple. But what about the hungry children next door?” This question posed to Madhu Pandit Dasa by TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services, prompted ISKCON Bangalore to feed 1,500 children in nearby government schools in 2000. In less than three months, the temple kitchen was distributing meals to 10,000 children. The actual demand was 10 times more. “We never knew the scale of this problem,” said Dasa, the IIT-educated president of ISKCON Bangalore. “So many hungry school children so close to the city!” With the backing of Pai and other donors, the temple scaled up the programme and built a large, automated kitchen. They made note of the mass cooking of rice and sambhar in steam boilers undertaken in Karnataka’s Dharmasthala Manjunatha temple and adopted the same technology in its new kitchen to expand rapidly.The programme was named Akshaya Patra, inspired by the inexhaustible food vessel referenced in the Mahabharata. In 2004, when The Akshaya Patra Foundation expanded to north India, it faced a new problem. The children wanted chapattis, not rice. How would any kitchen produce 1,00,000 chapattis within five hours? The head of the foundation’s centralised Vrindavan kitchen visited the Golden Temple, which had a chapatti-making machine imported from Lebanon. But the machine was more suited for —Madhu Pandit the production of pita bread and Dasa, Chairman, cost approximately US$52,000 The Akshaya Patra ( 35 lakh). In fact, there was no machine anywhere in the Foundation world that could execute the job. A rigorous search yielded less than satisfactory results, until a small company in Punjab, helmed by septuagenarian Vidya Sagar Agarwal, agreed to take up the challenge. Agarwal was not a qualified engineer and he didn’t have a fancy workshop. But he had similar experience—manufacturing biscuit-making machines—and was confident he could do the job. Indeed, some months later, he delivered a machine that could make 10,000 chapattis an hour. Today, the foundation has multiple chapatti-makers in its UP, Rajasthan and Gujarat kitchens. Agarwal and the kitchen team have modified and improved the original design, such that a single machine can now churn out up to 40,000 chapattis an hour. A company in Holland quoted an equivalent of US$300,000 approximately ( 2 crore) to build the machine to specification—the Indian-made one came with a price tag of about US$22,000 ( 15 lakh). “We have grown exponentially with constant innovation,” adds Dasa, who also serves as chairman of the foundation. “We now feed 1.6 million children in 11,360 schools across 10 states.” Although the foundation is a non-profit, ‘growth’ and ‘efficiency’ are a part of its DNA. While solving a social problem, it thinks and acts like an entrepreneur. It aims to feed five million children by 2020.

photographs: pankaj anand

“We now feed 1.6 million children in 11,360 schools across 10 states”


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Children at the Dharavi centre of Aakar Innovations Opposite page: The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s meals ready for distribution

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photographs: arjun menon

vortex’s atms run on just 60 watts of electricity—the same as a single light bulb


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A worker at Vortex Engineering Opposite page: The Vortex Ecoteller ATM

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The term ‘social entrepreneur’ first came into the limelight in 2003, when journalist David Bornstein wrote How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. Since its release, the ‘industry Bible’ has led to the rise of social enterprise. Nowhere has it gained more traction than in India. It is fair to say that our country is the biggest market available for social entrepreneurs today. Whether education, sanitation or livelihood, our concerns are large and unique and any solution must take into account local culture, climate and conditions. Vortex Engineering’s Ecoteller ATM, designed for rural India, is one such example. The project was born out of a need for financial inclusion of the poor. But conventional ATMs were not suited for use in rural and small-town areas. Frequent power cuts made them unusable for a large part of the day, which resulted in a need for a home-grown technology solution. Kannan Lakshminarayan, an IIT-Madras graduate, took up this challenge at the behest of his alma mater. It took four years and an unprecedented approach to create the first functional, lowcost ATM. Kannan worked with IIT Madras professors Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Bhaskar Ramamurthi to reimagine the electronics, mechanics and design. The task with the most complexity was designing the dispenser unit, which, as Sathyan Gopalan, CEO of Vortex Engineering, puts it, is “to an ATM what the engine is to a car”. After laborious R&D, the team decided to stack notes horizontally, instead of vertically. This would enable cash to be dispensed by a gravity-assisted mechanism, instead of a piston- or spring-assisted one. This innovation meant that the machine had fewer moving parts and thus, required a minuscule amount of power to function. In fact, Vortex’s ATMs can run on just 60 watts—the same as a single light bulb. “Our ATMs run on the open-source Linux operating system and have in-built Uninterrupted Power Supply,” adds Gopalan. The sturdy machines can handle power cuts and withstand extreme heat and dust without air-conditioning. Owing to these reasons, the cost of operating the Vortex ATM is far lower than a conventional one, making it attractive to banks. However, the path of frugal engineering is not an easy one. What works in the laboratory may not work in the real world. When the ATMs were first rolled out in Tamil Nadu in 2008, some had to be recalled. The problem was peculiar—they couldn’t handle soiled notes. This led to a set of modifications. The success of the next version resulted in an order of 545 ATMs from the State Bank of India. In the eight years since, Vortex Engineering has installed over 3,000 card-less, easy-to-operate machines and continues to innovate with offerings such as solarpowered ATMs and desktop ATMs.While credit for creating these machines is owed to IIT-Madras alumni, it is also due to investors such as Aavishkaar, Venture East, Bamboo Finance, Tata Capital and IFC, who continue to support the company despite the fact that it is yet to become profitable. Gopalan has faith—he says,

“With 200 million new bank accounts, we have robust demand.” The company is in the process of installing ATMs in Indonesia, Iran, Tanzania and Nigeria, as these countries share some of the same pain points as India. The problems that social enterprises tackle are usually invisible to market forces. Take the case of female hygiene in India. After decades of TV advertising and retail distribution, only 12 percent of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins. That means 88 percent still use cloth, ashes, husk and sand. Yet no organisation seemed to have considered addressing this issue— perhaps under the presumption that there’s no money in it. It was a maverick inventor in Coimbatore who came up with a low-cost solution to this age-old problem. In the course of his ‘R&D’, Arunachalam Muruganantham did everything from studying used sanitary napkins to understanding the experience by wearing them himself. A bladder with animal blood provided the “flow” through a tube mechanism. As Muruganantham spoke about his invention during a TED talk in May 2012, he said he vowed to solve his wife’s monthly dilemma of “choosing between buying family meals and her monthly supplies”. His research got seriously personal and his wife and mother left the house, concluding the man was mad. But his madness paid off when he designed a simple, low-cost napkinmaking machine. Muruganantham refused to patent his idea or sell it for profit. Instead, he worked with the government and NGOs to install hundreds of the machines across the country. However, he couldn’t offer any after-sales service. Machines frequently broke down and the quality of napkins was not up to the mark. It was then that Jaydeep Mandal, a young engineer, stepped into the picture.While pursuing his MBA, Mandal’s Aakar Innovations Pvt Ltd, an enterprise aimed at commercialising grass roots-level innovations, took up the challenge of redesigning Muruganantham’s prototype. Along with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Mandal and his team improved the efficiency of the machine, which could be set up for between US$9,000 and US$10,000 ( 6-7 lakh). In a span of just three years, Aakar Innovations set up 21 minifactories in rural areas and urban slums. Each unit employed six to 12 women, and initial raw materials and capital cost was funded by agencies such as United Nations Development Programme and World Vision. To be commercially viable, each unit must produce at least 1,200 napkins a day. However, that number was not as easy to achieve. “We had teething problems, especially with the workers,” admits Mandal, “Most of the women employed have no prior shop floor experience and it takes at least six months of onthe-job training to become productive and disciplined.” It is obvious that at the heart of any Make in India success story is the empowerment and education of its workers. Taking this challenging task in its stride is Pipal Tree, a social enterprise that works towards improving the skill set of workers. Co-founded by VJTI-graduate Santosh Parulekar in 2007, the enterprise

It is fair to say that India is the biggest market available for social entrepreneurs today


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photograph: pankaj anand

Neha and Nirmala Kandalgaonkar of Vivam Agrotech

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prepares school dropouts for construction work. Each of Pipal Tree’s 20 centres, spread across nine states, and its main campus in Hyderabad offer courses that last up to three months, run in partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation. Of late, Pipal Tree has witnessed an increasing demand for skilled labour for painting, plumbing, tiling and waterproofing jobs, owing to the adoption of modern construction practices and new technologies. It also subcontracts work from builders such as Tata Housing Development Company, Lodha Group and Godrej, employing the very people it trains to execute these projects. So far, the enterprise has trained over 27,000 people and many of its ‘graduates’ have turned contractors themselves. As effective as Pipal Tree’s learn-by-doing philosophy is, when it comes to social entrepreneurship, some universities believe in the efficacy of classroom courses. What works about a course is that neither formal training nor venture capital is a must—the only qualifications needed are a social bent of mind, a can-do spirit, a problem to solve and, finally, an inventive solution. While there are several issues that need fixing in a developing country like ours, the efforts of Nirmala Kandalgaonkar in the field of agriculture are inspiring. She turned social entrepreneur at the age of 49, when her husband was posted to a factory in rural Maharashtra. Witnessing the troubles of farmers—degradation of the soil due to chemical fertilisers— inspired Kandalgaonkar, a BSc in biology, to experiment with vermicomposting. With an initial investment of just US$375 ( 25,000), her knowledge of science and common sense, she devised a manure-making box, which caught on with farmers. Soon after, Kandalgaonkar began making smaller units for urban use and eventually, forayed into biogas. What followed was an agreement between Kandalgaonkar’s company Vivam Agrotech and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to set up the latter’s first municipal biogas unit (with a capacity of processing 1.5 tonnes of waste per day) in Chandrapur, Maharashtra in 2006. Since then, Vivam Agrotech has set up 15 large-scale biogas plants across Maharashtra. Ten of those plants, under the aegis of Pune Municipal Council, even generate electricity, which is used to power an astounding 300 streetlights. The USP of Kandalgaonkar’s company—where her two sons and daughter Neha also work—is that it remains the only Indian enterprise in the field of biogas with a woman at the helm. “Kachre se electricity banane ka kaam kisi mahila ne nahin kiya hai (No woman has worked towards turning waste into energy),” declares Kandalgaonkar with pride. And why not? It is, indeed, a matter of pride that Indians from across demographics are creating modern, made in India, made for India solutions.

photographs: DIA BHUPAL; arjun menon

Vivam Agrotech is the only Indian enterprise in the field of biogas with a woman at the helm


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Pipal Tree follows the ‘learn-by-doing’ concept Opposite page: Tools and uniforms provided to the students during a training session by Pipal Tree

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photograph: getty images


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In the pink of health

Going ‘back to the roots’ is the newest buzzword and it’s one of the key ways that millennials in India and the world over are achieving wellness, finds Geeta Rao


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ncompassing nutrition, fitness, weight management, cosmetic intervention, spas and rejuvenation, salons, beauty products and traditional and alternative medicine—wellness is a giant ecosystem. It involves prevention, enhancement and rejuvenation, aimed at achieving an optimal state of mind, body and health. Ashok Khanna, Founder and MD, Ananda in the Himalayas, talks numbers, “The global wellness industry, including wellness tourism, clocks in at US$3.4 trillion ( 2,27,69,790 crore approximately) and is growing at a rate of about seven to 10 percent.” On the global map, yoga, as one of the most popular techniques to achieve and maintain good health, holds a high position for its merits. Its worldwide popularity is best represented by the striking image of hundreds of Parisians marking the first International Yoga Day by performing asanas on a sea of yellow mats under the Eiffel Tower. Versions of that 2015 photograph were seen across the world—from Times Square in New York and London’s Hyde Park to the Indian Army base in Siachen and Lahore’s local parks. Of course, the largest congregation comprising 34,000 civilians was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rajpath in New Delhi. Not surprising considering Modi had addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2014 for the adoption of June 21, the summer solstice, as International Yoga Day. Within months of that incident, the Ministry of AYUSH was formed in November 2014 and allocated 10 percent of the health budget in the 12th Five-Year Plan. With the inception of AYUSH, which stands for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa (of Tibetan origin) and Homeopathy, the government aims to promote

wellness across all possible parameters. This is bound to give a boost to the private wellness sector, which has been presenting India’s traditional therapies in a modern format for a while now. Matching yoga’s increasing popularity is ayurveda—and in its wake, wellness tourism has been on the upswing. While both these wellness avenues have a number of retreats to their credit, ayurvedic treatments and therapies have found their way on to spa menus across the country. Take for instance, Vivanta by Taj’s award-winning Jiva Grande spa at Madikeri, Coorg, where guests can opt for the Gudda bath, a traditional copper pot wood-fired bath followed by a spice- and herb-infused massage in the middle of the rainforest. Alternatively, guests can perform Homam, a ritual homage to fire to unleash their spiritual power at Bekal, Kerala. The first Jiva spa opened in 2004, based on signature treatments inspired by ayurveda and spiritual healing practices. It is a blend that has worked because all 39 Jiva spas in India and abroad (and the 24 in the offing) cater to the growing global trend for authentic, traditional wellness offerings in a luxury setting. In a bid to imbibe such therapies into daily living, ayurvedic potions are also found in aesthetically designed jars and bottles. Forest Essentials is a textbook case study in harnessing traditional ayurvedic knowledge into a modern luxury beauty format. Panchamahabhutas and doshas are invoked as part of the brand story—their date and litchi Eternal Youth cream is fermented in clay pots and mixed by ayurvedic physicians in the Himalayas, as per a recipe based on Vedic shastras, while special mantras are chanted over it. “Mantras are perfect tools for reaching a meditative state,” says Mira Kulkarni, Founder and CMD of the brand,“The sacred words or vibrations, caused when recited, invoke


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From left: packaged soaps by Forest Essentials; Mira Kulkarni, Founder and CMD, Forest Essentials Opposite page: Fresh aloe vera; sourcing natural ingredients Previous pages: Ananda in the Himalayas’ outdoor yoga pavilion

the delivery of exact results. These could include healing, success, wellness and positivity.” The product is then packaged and labelled in a state-of-the-art factory in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. What started as a small-scale operation making handmade organic soaps in 2000 in the village of Lodsi in the Himalayas is now armed with an investment by Estée Lauder Companies Inc and boasts a chain of over 44 stores across the country with a wide range of products and plans for international expansion. This isn’t advertising hype. “The demand for natural, organic and herbal formulae, along with sustainability and information about ingredient safety is on the rise,” says Kulkarni, “As millennials continue to dominate the beauty buying space, we’ll see more extensive results-testing, more transparency and more effective products.” Even homeopathy, which may have German origins, has garnered mass appeal in India since the 19th century and Indian pharmacies have been specialising in the therapy ever since. Mumbai-based Roy and Company has been in business for 125 years. In recent times, Dr Batra, known for his chain of eponymous healthcare centres, was recognised by the European medical register for his contribution to homeopathy. There are a number of other well-known brands, household names really, who have been invested in ancient medicinal and herbal therapies that are now covered under the Ministry of AYUSH umbrella. Unani, a Greco-Arabic science that’s been in India for centuries finds favour with brands such as Hamdard (makers of Rooh Afza and Safi) and Dehlvi Naturals. Siddha, a variation of ayurveda practised by Tamil mystic teachers or siddhars, focuses on healing and maintaining a balanced holistic lifestyle. Brands like Baidyanath, Dabur, Zandu, The Himalaya

Drug Co and Charak are renowned for their range of ayurvedainspired pharmaceutical, beauty, wellness and foods products. Although these offerings are nothing if not genuine, authenticity or traditional therapies alone do not move the new demanding Indian consumer. Modern blended formats, easily accessed therapies, aesthetics and skilled and trained therapists play a key role. Plus, e-commerce has also proven to be a boon for niche players in the ayurvedic-organic-herbal-natural wellness segment. Take, for instance, the online store of Kama Ayurveda that ships to 45 countries. Its USP is its collaboration with the 63-year-old Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore, which is certified under the government’s WHO GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines for ayurvedic medicine. The pharmacy’s authentic ayurveda-based products such as the traditional Kumkumadi, made using goat’s milk, saffron, ghee made from cow’s milk and 21 herbs, as prescribed by ayurvedic texts, is one of 400 prescribed ayurvedic formulations. Log onto Organicshop.in and you will see evocative brands such as Vedantika Herbals, Ancient Living, Mitti Se, AstaBerry, Aarogyam Wellness, Tvam and BioBloom in its beauty section. Its varied range of products and sheer number of brands make up a small figure, when compared to the global beauty and wellness market, which is estimated at US$1.4 trillion ( 93,75,800 crore approximately), the Indian sector is growing at an annual rate of 18 percent, as per the Human Resource and Skill Requirements in the Beauty and Wellness Sector (2013-17, 2017-22), a recent KPMG-NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) report. The figure also takes note of the spa (rejuvenation) and alternative medicine segments in India that are growing at an annual rate of 30 percent. 139

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Testimony to the industry’s growth and need is Arianna Huffington’s recent announcement. The editor-in-chief of Huffington Post will step down from the company she co-founded to start Thrive Global, a new, online venture to deal with the “global pandemic of burnout and stress”.The very same pain points highlighted by Huffington’s departure, no more exclusive to the West, have been the crux of the wellness tourism industry in India. International travellers have been frequenting yoga centres in Mysore and Rishikesh and ayurvedic clinics across India for years, if not decades. Ananda Spa’s Khanna states, “When we started in 2000, the health and Indian wellness industry was in its nascency and travellers especially from Europe and the US frequented us much more.” However, with the rise of lifestyle disorders and stress levels in India’s competitive cities, there’s a shift in the trend. He adds, “Today, India is our top performing market.” Destination spas are also moving to newer neighbourhoods— no longer limited to the mountains or the coastline, nor is the entrepreneurial spirit limited to men. Rama Ranjit Mehra founded Ranjit’s SVAASÁ in her colonial 250-year-old haveli in Amritsar, Punjab, based on her own research and interest in healthy living and healing. The store at Mehra’s spa stocks nutraceuticals, botanicals and superfoods. And Nandini Gulati and Nandita Shah set up SHARAN, a non-profit organisation complete with yoga, vegan food and daily meditation, in Auroville, Pondicherry. While Mala Barua of Mystic Asia gives the concept of wellness tourism

a spin by planning eco-spiritual tours around the world—think Inner Silence retreats in Bhutan, watsu healing in Pondicherry, Sufi trails in Turkey and ayurveda retreats in Kerala. Day spas have also sprouted across the country’s cities—whether it’s Kamayani Kanwar’s Asian Roots or spa chains such as Four Fountains. For most women entrepreneurs, launching a beauty, health or spa brand arises from their own unmet needs. Whether you think of Bobbi Brown, The Body Shop’s Anita Roddick or Estée Lauder, these women have built entire empires, stemming from a personally felt need-gap in the market. India isn’t lacking in this regard either—Shahnaz Husain, Blossom Kochhar and Biotique’s Vinita Jain have created successful business models. Vandana Luthra, Founder and Vice Chairperson, VLCC, started her chain in 1989. Today, the Padma Shri award-winner helms 319 centres across 11 countries in Asia, East Africa and the Middle East and recently debuted in the Forbes Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen 2016 list. Another awe-worthy example is that of Simone Tata, who helmed Lakmé, making it a leading, home-grown cosmetic brand for Indian women. It was sold to Hindustan Unilever Limited in 1996 to help the brand achieve a greater global retail presence. Currently, Lakmé has over 300 products and is used in professional hair salons in over 70 countries around the world. Most of the 400+ franchisees of Naturals’, the chain of unisex salons founded by Veena Kumaravel and her husband CK Kumaravel in 2000, are run by first-time women entrepreneurs. The home-grown

photographs: getty images

In India, The workforce requirement in the wellness sector is


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From left: Hot stone therapy at Ananda in the Himalayas; Vandana Luthra, Founder and Vice Chairperson, VLCC Opposite page, from left: salt scrub; Shirodhara, an ayurvedic treatment

estimated to rise from 4.21 million in 2013 to 14.27 million by 2022 brand plans to take its franchisee model to the US and the Middle East and aims to expand to 3,000 salons by 2020. In the world of herbal-natural-organic products, Neeta Adappa’s Prakriti Herbals, Natasha Shah’s The Nature’s Co, Colette Austin’s The Skin Pantry and Ishween Anand’s Nyassa are providing ‘clean’ solutions. Seeing the need for an amalgamated ecosystem, Falguni Nayar set up Nykaa.com, which offers a staggering 400+ brands, many from the natural, organic and well-being space. In 2015, Nayar’s portal generated a revenue of US$ 22.39 million approximately ( 150 crore), as per a Business World report. Women have clearly led the wellness sector as entrepreneurs or part of the top management but they’ve been crucial at all levels. Taj Hotels’ Jiva spa chain, for example, has 58 percent women employees across all levels. Luthra, who is also the first chairperson of the NSDC–CII Beauty and Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&W SSC), says,“About 70 percent of the workforce in the sector is made up of women.” In fact, Somatheeram, which positions itself as the world’s first ayurveda spa resort, in Thiruvananthapuram, is one of many of its kind that has changed the lives of masseurs and yoga teachers hailing from neighbouring villages. While most serve near their hometowns, some others have deputed as far as Russia and Germany for short stints. Luthra points out a key factor, “Focusing on skill development in this domain can contribute to the cause of women’s empowerment. It will also strengthen the government’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative as well as help women fund their enterprises under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna.”

The wellness industry—what with its estimated growth—has the capacity to take under its wing a sizeable number of trained and skilled marketers, technicians and therapists, doctors (both allopathic and AYUSH-based), counter staff, social media managers, retail managers, spa experts, architects, healers, teachers even meditation gurus. Luthra cites a recent KPMG-NSDC report, “In India, the workforce requirement in this sector is estimated to rise from 4.21 million in 2013 and 7.39 million in 2017 to 14.27 million by 2022. The B&W SSC aims to accredit 390 training organisations, coach 2,200 trainers and certify a workforce of almost 1.67 million by 2023.” Not filling this imminent need will prove counter-productive. Already in business to create a pool of skilled personnel are the Ananda Spa Institute, Blossom Kochhar’s College of Creative Arts and Design (whose alumni include Luthra, make-up artist Ambika Pillai and hairstylist Sylvie Rodgers, all of whom are now training new entrants) and VLCC Institute of Beauty & Nutrition, which has 70 campuses in India and Nepal. With the way the numbers are shooting up, there’s obviously room for more and it’s imperative that communities with knowledge of traditional medicine, herbs and healing also be included. With AYUSH at the forefront, the focus is on wellness—tapping the sector’s full potential, preserving the country’s knowledge and investing in skill development. And it’s coming at a good time, considering that people the world over are embracing the old, the new and the trending, when it comes to healthy living. 141

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the lion is on the move

celeBrating the second anniversary of make in india

Make in India is a major national initiative designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, protect intellectual property and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure.

as Make in India turns two, there has been an unprecedented increase in confidence, collaboration and investment. This comprehensive report card showcases: • The beginning of Make in India and its presence around the world • Make in India Week 2016 in numbers • The impact of Ease of Doing Business in India • Initiatives like: Mittelstand, Startup India, IPR Policy, Industrial Corridors, Invest India • FDI achievements and India as the world’s most open economy • Make in India’s biggest achievements and milestones.

a progress report >>

The stage has been set. The world is watching.

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the lion’s first footprint

From the first speech that marked the beginning to the events that built the foundation of the revolutionary campaign, here’s a snapshot of how it all began...

make in india the Beginning august 15, 2014

In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded a rallying cry to make in India

septemBer 25, 2014

The programme was launched at a high profile event staged at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi

decemBer 29, 2014

A workshop titled ‘Make in India – Sectorial perspective & initiatives’ was conducted, under which an action plan for one year and three years was prepared to boost investments in 25 sectors

make in india around the World

april 13 – 17, 2015 germany

India was awarded the coveted status of Partner Country at Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair. The fair paved the way for new avenues of investment and greater economic engagement between the two nations. The India Pavilion showcased India’s manufacturing capabilities across core sectors of the nation’s economy

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septemBer 24, 2015 neW york city

Make in India at the Fortune Global Forum’s Pre-conference Dinner. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the discussion with Chief Editor of Fortune, Alan Murray. Each of the attending Fortune 500 CEOs were invited to express their views on the current opportunities for the future on Ease of Doing Business (EODB) in India

novemBer 2 – 4, 2015 san francisco

Make in India at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum explored the implications of disruptive changes and emerging technology trends for corporations in the 21st century. The forum provided a focused and strategic programme with formats that stimulated an open exchange of new ideas and innovative concepts

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the lion makes its mark at make in india Week 2016


ake in India Week in Mumbai propelled the Indian economy by forging enormous global engagement in the form of investments and partnerships. The world’s best and brightest converged during the week of 13 – 18 February, 2016—industry leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, government officials—to deliberate on reforms and policy and create a progressive shift to the current industrial environment. All eyes were on Mumbai as the sheer scale and presentation of the conclave evoked enormous excitement in national and international media. A number of landmark MoUs were signed across major manufacturing sectors and states. The numbers speak louder than words...

215 eXhiBitors

8,90,000 visitors


102 countries


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$226.9 Billion in investments committed

1245 2000+ 1000 65,500 national and international speakers

foreign companies


participants at Make in India Centre

Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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The Lion Invites the World to India Ease of DoinG Business in India

A major pillar of the Make in India initiative, Ease of Doing Business (EODB) is significant for a prospering industrial environment, especially for foreign investors. Emphasis has been on simplification and improvement of existing rules as well as introduction of IT to expedite processes for more effective governance. A series of 127 measures and reforms have elevated India’s ranking from 142 in 2014 to 130 in 2016, in a field of 189 nations, on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business List (Doing Business Report, June 2016). Key reforms areas include: starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, trading across borders, resolving insolvency, enforcing contracts and taxation. Some of the major developments under these categories are: a new online regime, single-window systems, improved clearance facilities, simplified and reduced documentation, common forms, number of procedures reduced, time for obtaining permits reduced, special bills passed to facilitate ease, digitalisation of records, online payments and much more. The Government of India has decided to rank states on the basis of ease of doing business. The move is intended at promoting competition among states to improve ease of doing business. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has circulated action points to state governments on creating an enabling framework for stimulating investments in manufacturing with specific timelines for each action. DIPP has launched an online portal to track real-time rankings of states on the basis of number of reforms undertaken by them. Currently, the portal tracks real-time implementation of 340-Point Business Reforms Action Plan to be considered for the 2016 rankings. >>


Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016, this flagship initiative is aimed at building a strong ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship, promote innovation and in turn, generate large scale employment opportunities.

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2016 2014



IPR Policy

It’s been made evident that a dynamic and balanced Intellectual Property Regime is imperative to encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Government of India has unveiled a National IPR policy to achieve the same. The focus is on enhancing access to health care, food security and environmental protection among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.

• Self-certification for certain compliances for Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Environment & Forests • ‘Twitter Seva’ has been launched to facilitate interaction between entrepreneurs • Startup India Portal and Mobile App are now operational to facilitate application for start-up recognition, verification of recognition certificate and also act as a source for regulatory information • A scheme for Startups IPR Protection for facilitating fast-track filing of Patents, Trademarks and Designs by start-ups has been launched • Tax incentives for start-up companies for a period of three years have been introduced in The Finance Act 2016

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Make in India Mittelstand

Mittelstand companies form the backbone of the German economy. Most of them are family-owned and ‘small’, yet world market leaders in their domain with worldbeating technologies. Make in India Mittelstand (MIIM) serves as an innovative, integrated platform for market entry services that corresponds to the complex requirements of first-time investors. It is a one-stop source for companies requiring additional benefits of special workshops, networking and information exchange. >>


The Government of India is building a grid of industrial corridors across the country to provide developed land and quality infrastructure for industrial townships. Each industrial corridor stretches across major industrial regions and smart cities; aimed at expanding a manufacturing and services base to develop a global hub. >>


$447.8 million (`30,000 million) committed investments by German Mittelstand organisations 56 companies expressed interest in the programme 134 Mittelstand companies approached MIIM 55 personal meetings conducted by the MIIM team to evaluate their participation in the programme 43 individuals and firms enrolled as official members of the MIIM programme 26 MIIM firms have concrete investment plans for India


DMIC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor) • The corridor runs 1504km long • Estimate investment of $1 billion • 24 Investment Regions/Industrial Areas will be developed • Economic potential: $720 billion in exports and output value of $3.3 trillion in the next nine years; 25.5 million jobs in the next seven years CBIC (Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor) • The corridor runs 560km long • Perspective Planning is complete • Three nodes namely Tumkur, Ponneri and Krishnapatnam have been identified • Steps have been initiated for Detailed Master Planning and Preliminary Engineering • Infrastructure plans include: high-speed rail link and dedicated freight corridor AKIC (Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor) • Project consultants for Preparation of Perspective Plan has been appointed • Perspective Planning will be completed by October 2016 • Steps have been initiated for Detailed Master Planning and Preliminary Engineering

Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC) Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC)

BMEC (Bengaluru Mumbai economic Corridor) • The corridor runs 1000km long • Perspective Plan finalised. Dharwad node in Karnataka has been identified • Infrastructure plans include: Diamond quadrilateral high-speed rail link • Economic potential: 32 million jobs in the next 25 years; Exports to increase by $96 billion; An expected 50 percent increase in growth rate VCIC (Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor) • The corridor runs 800km long • ADB has initiated Master Planning for two nodes namely Vishakhapatnam and Srikalahasti-Yerpedu • Infrastructure plans include: 800km segment of National Highway 5 through Chennai; Vishakhapatnam to be the core spine connecting investment nodes Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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Invest India is the official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India, mandated to facilitate investments into India. It is envisaged to be the first point of reference for potential investors. The team has domain and functional experts who provide sector-and state-specific inputs, and hand-holding support to investors through the entire investment cycle, from pre-investment decision-making to after-care. It assists with location identification; expediting regulatory approvals; facilitating meetings with relevant government and corporate officials; and also provides after-care services that include initiating remedial action on problems faced by investors. All facilitation and hand-holding support to investors under the Make in India programme is being provided by Invest India. Invest India is promoted by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Government of India), the State Governments of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

MoU/Agreement signed by Invest India

• Japan - Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) • S Korea - Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) • Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) • Kazakhstan - KaznexInvest • USA - Invest In America • Czech Republic - Czechinvest • France - Invest In France Agency & UBI France • Italy - Invitalia • UK - UKTI, UKIBC • Mauritius - BOI Mauritius


• 2016 UNCTAD Investment Promotion Award for excellence in partnering for investment promotion. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recognised Invest India as one of the world’s best-practice investment promotion agencies (IPAs) for promoting FDI that contributes to sustainable development • Winner from the South, East Asia and Oceania region - Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2016 Investment Award for the best investment project • Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Investment Awards 2016 for the best Investment Promotion Agency amongst the 21 member states

Workshops and Training • Invest India organised the “Workshop on Promoting FDI in Solar Energy Projects” in collaboration with UNCTAD on March 10, 2016 at New Delhi • World Bank organised group training programmes for officials of Invest India & DIPP on “Fundamentals of Investment Promotion” in February 2016


• Responded to 23,124 queries on the Make in India portal (from September 25, 2014 to August 26, 2016) • Facilitation of global entities in establishing their business in the Indian market • Facilitation partner in the Make in India Mittelstand • Helped organise the Startup India event and Silicon Valley delegation interaction with the President of India • Launched uberEXCHANGE, a start-up mentorship programme in collaboration with Uber • Organised the QPrize Startup contest and DP World prize • Startup India hub contact centre operationalised at Invest India which has handled 20,000 queries since April 1, 2016 • Will be launching an interactive online learning and development module to educate start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs, through various stages of their entrepreneurial journey

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fdi in india - policy reforms (2015 - 2016)

With a liberalised foreign investment policy regime and multiple sectors opened up for 100 percent foreign direct investment, India is now the world’s most open economy.

Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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Single brand retail trading FDI policy to provide that sourcing of 30 percent of the value of goods purchased would be reckoned from the opening of first store. 100 percent FDI is now permitted under the automatic route in Duty Free Shops located and operated in the Customs bonded areas

The government has permitted up to 49 percent FDI in the sector under the automatic route





fdi infloWs in india in usd Billion




















Major initiatives and a slew of reforms have put India on the global industrial map as the fastest growing economy and the most attractive investment destination in the world. After the launch of Make in India, the growth in FDI has seen a significant surge, with 46 percent increase in FDI equity inflows during the period of October 2014 to May 2016, over the corresponding period before the launch. A favourable policy environment facilitated the highest ever FDI inflow of $55.7 billion in the financial year 2015-16.

medical devices

100 percent FDI in the medical devices sector is permitted under the automatic route


fdi in india achievements


100 percent FDI is permitted under the automatic route

insurance & pension


Regional Air Transport Service has been opened for foreign investment up to 49 percent under the automatic route



The government opened a whole range of rail infrastructure to private participation as well as 100 percent FDI under the automatic route


100 percent foreign investment under automatic route for coffee, rubber, cardamom, palm oil tree, olive oil tree plantations







FDI up to 100 percent is permissable under the government route


100 percent FDI will be allowed through FIPB route in the marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India


4 defence 7

food processing


Non-repatriable investments by NRIs, Persons of Indian origin and individuals with Overseas Citizenship of India will be treated as domestic investments and will not be subject to FDI caps

Foreign investment cap on Satellites establishment and operation has now been raised from 74 percent to 100 percent under the government route


nri investment




FDI relaxation for Cable Networks, DTH, Up-linking of TV Channels, terrestrial broadcasting, FMs, etc

agricultural plantations




Net FDI inflows hit an all-time high in early 2016, according to International Rating Agency Moody’s Source RBI

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The Lion strides ahead Make in India MILESTONES Policy changes and reforms have underpinned foreign investments, making India the world’s most attractive investment destination. Here are landmark moments in Make in India’s 18-month journey to date

• The Central Government gives a nod to defence projects worth $11.9 billion (`800 billion)

• $74.6 million allotted to proposed solar mega-projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Ladakh

• The Union Government sets up a $298.5 million (`20,000 million) corpus for NABARD to lend to food processing units at a lower interest rate

• India’s leather exports grew from $1.42 billion to an all-time high of $6 billion (`402 billion) in 2014

• FDI in defence manufacturing is 100 percent via government route • The government announces highway projects worth $93 billion • Cochin International Airport is to be India’s first airport to run on solar energy • Japan’s Mitsubishi forms a JV with IFFCO to manufacture agrochemicals in India


Source: Best Countries Rankings, 2016 -U.S. News, BAV Consulting & Wharton School

• The NATRIP Project, worth $388.5 million (`26,029.5 million), enables India’s automobile industry to adopt and implement global performance standards • Huawei Technologies makes a $170 million investment to set up an R&D centre in Bengaluru • German auto component manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen AG invests $22.4 million (`1,500.8 million) in a new Pune plant

• Indian Railways gets two FDI projects worth $6.5 billion

• Foxconn’s $5 billion (`335 billion) investment is the largest recent FDI commitment to India

• Mercedes Benz commences production of CLA and petrol GLA 200 Sport in India

• INS Kochi, the largest ever Make in India warship commissioned at the Mumbai Naval Dockyard


Source: Ernst & Young – 2015 India Attractiveness Survey



Source: Financial Times – FDI Markets

Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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• 19 private companies get a go-ahead from DIPP to make defence products in India

• Russian firm Rostec forms JV with HAL to make 200 Kamov choppers in India

• Lockheed begins construction of US presidential VH 92 Super Hawk choppers in India

• Mauritius becomes first export ‘Made in India’ market for Renault Kwid • Made in India Suzuki Baleno launched in Japan

• Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems form JV in India to manufacture aero structures starting with the AH-64 Apache

• Bengaluru’s Sakra becomes India’s first 100 percent FDI hospital with Japan-backed investments

• The first Made in India defence part since the launch of Make in India is a section of the Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopter fuselage, manufactured by Boeing in collaboration with Bengaluru’s Dynamatic Technologies Ltd

• FDI in mining jumps to $657.5 million between April - December 2014-15 as compared to $12.7 million (`852.9 million) for FY 2013-14

• India has climbed 16 places in the global competitive index 2016-17 and is at 39th position. The jump of 16 places for India from the last year is the highest for any economy this year (Source: World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 201617)

• Designed, developed & manufactured in India, GE Healthcare launches Revolution ACT - a new CT scanner • German-based Daimler is making in India, pumping $655 million (`43,885 million) in investments, with 2500 employees on its rolls in Pune

• SJVN Ltd announces 4.2 GW solar, wind energy park in India • To facilitate Ease Of Doing Business, online excise and service tax registrations are to be completed in two working days • Singapore based Sembcorp completes 660 MW thermal power project in India

1st among 1oo countries on the groWth, innovation and leadership indeX source: frost & sullivan

source: Wesp report 2016, un

• Singapore inks four pacts with Madhya Pradesh - renewable energy, smart cities, food processing and IT on the list

• Industrial licences can now be filed online, around the clock, on the e-biz platform

• The spine of the most advanced aircraft, Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner, is made in India

1st among the World’s fastest groWing economies in Both 2016 & 2017

• BASF India unveils its largest chemicals plant in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh

• India offers the world’s highest returns on investment, about twice the global average of 12.5 percent, says private equity leader: The Carlyle Group

• The government enhances defence industrial licence validity to seven years

• A record-breaking 6029 kilometres of roads & highways have been built in 2015-16

• Mobile manufacturing in India touches $8.1 billion (`540 billion), with 186 percent growth in 2015-16

• 60,000 handicraft sellers, SMEs and counting ride the Make in India wave with e-commerce firms

1st among 11o investment destinations polled gloBally

source: foreign policy magaZine – Baseline profitaBility indeX 2015

1st among the World’s fastest groWing economies source: international monetary fund

46 percent groWth in india’s fdi eQuity infloWs (oct 2014-may 2016) fdi eQuity infloW increased from $46.72 Billion in 2012-2014 to $70.93 Billion in 2014-2016. source: department of industrial policy & promotion, government of india

Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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$55.7 billion - india’s highest ever recorded fdi inflows (2015-2016) Source: Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India

• For the first time in history, Indian FDI inflows in a single financial year cross the $50 billion mark • Cabinet hikes FDI cap via the auto route from $179 million to $448 million • Defence Ministry clears mega military modernisation projects worth $3 billion (`199.7 billion) • Honda begins exporting the new Jazz to South Africa from its plant in Tapukara, Rajasthan • Orders worth $5.2 billion placed with 45 Indian suppliers as part of Queensland’s New Generation Rollingstock project • The Mahindra Group bags a multimillion dollar aerospace deal with Airbus • China’s heavy equipment major Sany Group has committed to invest $4 billion to set up manufacturing units in India • Isuzu rolls out its 50,000 unit/year Andhra Pradesh manufacturing plant • 100 percent FDI allowed in Asset Reconstruction Companies under automatic route • 198 Maharashtra firms allotted land for investment projects signed during Make in India Week


among the top 10 fdi destinations globally Source: World Investment Report 2015, UNCTAD

• Indian Railways attracts $6.3 billion (`420.1 billion) in FDI • Mercedes opens new plant in Pune to cut costs, boost sales - Pune is the only city outside Germany entrusted to produce the Maybach S500 • IT exports from Kerala touch $1.5 billion, resulting in a reverse brain drain from abroad • General Motors will be investing $1 billion over the next few years to turn operations in India into a global export hub • India successfully puts five UK satellites into orbit with its workhorse PSLV-C28 in 2015 • India’s Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, completes two years in space, with enough jet fuel to stay in orbit for another fifteen years • BMW rolls out the 50,000th car from its Chennai plant • The Indian Navy’s Kalvari submarine, built at the Mazagon Docks, undergoes successful sea trials • ISRO launches India’s first ever indigenous space shuttle – the RLV-TD • ATV giant Polaris begins local manufacturing in India

UP 15 spots on THE GLOBAL innovation INDEX 2O16

Source: Cornell University, INSEAD and The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)


Exchange Rate: $1 = `67 approximately

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Telling inspiring India stories



Video Digital

The Make in India lion is now famous all around the world. But India will only realise its potential when it harnesses the full capabilities of its millions of women. Inspired by this sentiment, street artist Anpu Varkey created our cover image of a lioness coming out of the shadows, emerging beside the lion, and claiming her place in the sun as they stride forward together. “It’s the dawn of a new age,” says Delhi-based Varkey, a painter of a variety of surfaces, from canvases and paper to walls and pavements.


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Profile for Condé Nast India

Make in India - November 2016  

MAKE IN INDIA- WOMEN’S SPECIAL This second edition covers some of the most accomplished women across the country from an array of fields and...

Make in India - November 2016  

MAKE IN INDIA- WOMEN’S SPECIAL This second edition covers some of the most accomplished women across the country from an array of fields and...


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