-

     
Skoch Challenger Awardees:
Lifetime Achievement:  Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister
Infrastructure:  Mr Nitin Desai, Economist
Economics:  Dr Surjit S Bhalla, Chairman, Oxus Research & Investments
Technology:  Mr Ravi S Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Gujarat
Banking:  Mr T M Bhasin, CMD, Indian Bank
Corporate Social Responsibility:  Mr M Narendra, CMD, Indian Overseas Bank
Gender Economist:  Prof. Aasha Kapur Mehta, Professor of Economics, IIPA
Women Empowerment:  Dr Ruth Manorama, President, National Alliance of Women

Jury
  • College of Skoch Challenger Lifetime Achievement Awardees, Mr Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, Skoch Group & Dr Gursharan Dhanjal, Editor & COO, Skoch Group
  • Dr Deepak B Phatak, IIT-B, Mumbai & Director, Skoch Development Foundation
  • Dr N C Saxena, Member, NAC & Distinguished Fellow, Skoch Development Foundation
  • Dr N Vijayaditya, Distinguished Fellow, Skoch Development Foundation
  • Ms Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, HP India
  • Dr Alok Bharadwaj, Chairman, Office Automation & Imaging Industry Division, CII; President, MAIT and Senior Vice President, Canon India

Lifetime Achievement:  Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister

P Chidambaram is a rare combination of political maturity coupled with intellectual brilliance. He has the capacity to address any issue logically and consistently. His outstanding performance as a Commerce Minister, Finance Minister and Home Minister is a testimony to that. His first love though, remains law.

As Commerce Minister he dismantled various controls over imports and brought down the import duty very drastically. EXIM scrips were introduced by which additional premium was payable to the exporters. India moved towards the reform of exchange rate regime.

He introduced moderate rates of taxation that resulted in a rise of tax-GDP ratio. His term as Finance Minister saw the highest rise in growth rates in the Indian economy.

Chidambaram had the courage to notify Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. He rationalized the tax administration side by underlining the importance of information technology and introduced the requirement that companies have to file electronically.

He played an important role in introducing VAT. He ensured that tax administration is simple, straightforward and moving towards a system in which the rates are low, base is wider and exemptions are limited. The Direct Tax Code was completely re-written by him to become simple and easy to understand.

Chidambaram is keen on financial inclusion and believes in a banking system that is commercially viable. The big slew of items which began with Bharat Nirman programmes in terms of extending the reach of credit, rural road connectivity, improved access to agriculture and farming, many initiatives in the areas of education and health, all suggest that he was clearly seeking not only high rates of growth but seeking a more egalitarian society.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT P Chi damba ram Given away by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission and Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.

 

Infrastructure:  Mr Nitin Desai, Economist

Nitin Desai has had a long and distinguished career in the Government of India and the United Nations. In both fields of work he has contributed to the development of rational policies for infrastructure. In the Planning Commission he played a key role in the establishment of an economic cost-benefit framework that brought greater rationality into technology and design choices in energy, transport and urban development.

In the United Nations his contribution to the elaboration and acceptance of the concept of sustainable development led to the growing acceptance of environmental protection and social inclusion as an essential element in infrastructure planning.

In more recent years his strong advocacy on issues relating to transparency in regulatory regimes and fairness in land acquisition have reinforced this dimension of infrastructure policy. His work has helped to situate infrastructure policy within the broader framework of sustainable and inclusive development.

In more recent years his strong advocacy on issues relating to transparency in regulatory regimes and fairness in land acquisition have reinforced this dimension of infrastructure policy. His work has helped to situate infrastructure policy within the broader framework of sustainable and inclusive development.


Economics:  Dr Surjit S Bhalla, Chairman, Oxus Research & Investments

When it comes to offering economic and public policy research with reflections on inclusive growth with better understanding of trends, both Indian and global, Surjit S Bhalla’s name appears foremost. His research has been found to be useful to anticipate public policy reforms and as considered inputs towards making decisions about financial markets.

He has worked as a research economist at Rand Corporation, Brookings Institution, the World Bank and The Policy Group; and as a strategist with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. He has also served on Capital Account convertibility Committees of 1997 and 2006 and has been on the Secondary Market Advisory Committee for SEBI.

He is author of “Imagine There’s No Country: Poverty, Inequality and Growth in the Era of Globalization,” arguing that consistent growth can pull even the poorest out of poverty.

Given away in presence of Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister; Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.


 

Technology:  Mr Ravi S Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Gujarat

His efforts have resulted in making Gujarat the most e-connected state in the country having end-to-end IP based connectivity, covering all 26 districts, 226 Talukas and 18,000 villages of Gujarat via e-Gram. He took the challenge of upgrading the ICT infrastructure in the state and created the Gujarat State Wide Area Network (GSWAN). He has been relentlessly campaigning for consolidation of government IT infrastructure for the entire country, which should result in a Unified Government Cloud Structure. He is Ravi S Saxena, presently Additional Chief Secretary to Government of Gujarat leading the technology initiatives in the state.

He has initiated a unique experiment of integrating GIS applications with other IT applications to have an accurate planning of civil infrastructure. He has also conceptualized a “Unified Communication System” carrying voice, video and data on IP backbone, thereby ensuring complete telepresence of every officer of the state government.

Given away in presence of Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister; Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.


 

Banking:  Mr T M Bhasin, CMD, Indian Bank


There are numerous examples of financial inclusion in the country. But there are few that have scaled and are replicable. Puducherry that stands apart as 100% financially included geography, is the result of vision and painstaking execution by T M Bhasin, Chairman & Managing Director, Indian Bank. He has steered the project to bring it to fruition. He has championed the cause of financial inclusion and set up Financial Literacy and Credit Counselling Centres (FLCCs) in 14 districts benefiting 6,253 persons of which nearly half are women with majority belonging to the backward caste. The Indian Bank Self Employment Training Institutes (INDSETIs) in 5 districts, in last one year, have trained nearly 2,000 persons in self-employment and disbursed credit upwards of 7.6 million rupees. More than 112,000 Self Help Groups have been credit linked disbursing over 16 billion rupees.


The bank has extended OD and GCC facilities to 56,208 beneficiaries amounting to 129 million rupees. All the 1,511 villages with population above 2,000 have been provided banking facilities. In un-banked villages with sizable population where opening a brick and mortar branch may not be viable, the bank has established 47 Internet based kiosks as Banking Service Centres (BSCs). Mobile branches that are connected to CBS system through GPRS provide doorstep banking in the villages.


Given away in presence of Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister; Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.


Corporate Social Responsibility:  Mr M Narendra, CMD, Indian Overseas Bank


M Narendra’s commitment to serve the rural India is evident from the fact that the bank that he heads – Indian Overseas Bank – has over 70 per cent of its branches in rural areas. Narendra has treaded the uncharted territories owing to his passion to help the socially and economically underprivileged. Narendra has identified 30 villages in association with Friends of Tribal Society in the Nilgiris, to set up one school each for tribal children providing them with vocational training.

A special grant of 25 million rupees has been earmarked for five farmers’ schools to provide skill development and skill upgradation to farmers. Education academies have been set up in identified villages to support students who are weak in subjects like math and science. Narendra’s efforts in providing support to various cancer societies have saved many a life.


His commitment to financial inclusion for which first step is financial literacy has roped in Nitya Education Society to provide financial literacy and financial awareness at the school and college level.

Given away in presence of Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister; Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.


Gender Economist:  Prof. Aasha Kapur Mehta, Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Public Administration


Whether it is contributing to the existing body of knowledge relating to dynamics of poverty, district level indicators related to multi-dimensional deprivation, gender related disparities, gender budgeting or gender health and care needs, Aasha Kapur Mehta, an economist, has been chipping in for over a decade now. She has gainfully brought this knowledge into her training sessions for senior government officers, the knowledge gained from working on projects as diverse as the international competitiveness of the machine tool industry on the one hand, to providing support to agencies implementing use of solar, microhydro and gasifier based livelihood generation in remote villages, on the other.

Her work has positively impacted the policy making process wherein the 12th Five Year Plan has renewed its focus on gender budgeting. She has also helped bring the focus on gender planning while framing the Results-Framework Document for reviewing the performance targets of various government departments for two years now.

Her work has positively impacted the policy making process wherein the 12th Five Year Plan has renewed its focus on gender budgeting. She has also helped bring the focus on gender planning while framing the Results-Framework Document for reviewing the performance targets of various government departments for two years now.


 

 

Women Empowerment:  Dr Ruth Manorama, President, National Alliance of Women

Ruth Manorama is one of the most effective organizer and advocate for Dalit women, belonging to ‘scheduled castes’ sometime even called the ‘untouchables’. She was born a Dalit. Her parents escaped the worst consequence of being Dalits and a minority. But it left an indelible impact on her while she grew and started to organize marginalized women, unorganized labour and Dalits.


She helped organize a public hearing on Violence Against Dalit Women in Bangalore in 1993, which led to the creation of the National Federation of Dalit Women. In the process, she has worked with slum dwellers, mobilized them to fight for their rights, and has become a voice for Dalits for affirmative action. Working for the deprived, she has organized peaceful mass demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people.


She has worked with women living in slums, trained and empowered them to face the issues like violence, discrimination and deprivation on their own. Adopting non-violent methods, she has mobilized and unionanized women workers to fight for minimum wages.


Given away in presence of Mr P Chidambaram, Hon’ble Home Minister; Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 27th Day of March 2012 at New Delhi.