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Awardees | Skoch Challenger Awards 2010                                                                                                      View Gallery

Lifetime Achievement - Vijay L Kelkar

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In a remarkable, 33 year-long career in public policy, Dr. Vijay Kelkar has been one of the key players in the vanguard of India’s economic reforms, making lasting contributions in shaping the development of the economy to this day. His uniqueness lies in the fact that even after his retirement, both the public and private sectors continue to vie for his talent. Among his early contributions was India’s trade policy, as member secretary of the committee that drew up the roadmap for reform of the policy. From that time to his last responsibility of chairing the 13th Finance Commission, causes espoused by Dr. Kelkar exhibited his deep understanding of and dedication to the forces of growth and development. His core competence, however, remains prices and fiscal reform, where he has made waves through petroleum price reform, tax committee recommendations, the Fiscal Reform and Budget Management Act, and now the far-reaching 13th Finance Commission report.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.

Biographic Film : Vijay L Kelkar - India on the Growth Turnpike


Challenger of the Year: Urban Development - M Ramachandran, Secretary, Urban Development

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For someone who was responsible for facilitating a $1,000 million loan from the ADB for Uttarakhand’s energy, roads and urban sectors, Dr M Ramachandran is a soft-spoken man with a big vision. A passionate believer in urbanisation as a key to greater growth, Dr Ramachandran is the man behind the JNNURM programme that seeks to change the way we live. A strong proponent of the delegation of powers from the state level to urban local bodies, he has set new horizons of civic services delivery. He is also a firm believer in the service level-benchmarking framework as one of the fundamental building blocks of the soft infrastructure that cities need to build. According to him, benchmarking will improve services delivery, strengthen accountability, bring in greater transparency, help in optimal resource allocation and prioritising of activities, and facilitate public-private-partnership.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.March 18, 2010 AWARD.


Challenger of the Year: National Significance  - Kiran Karnik 

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Mr Kiran Karnik is a prominent figure when it comes to the Indian outsourcing industry. Formerly president of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), Mr Karnik was recently selected as one of the board members as well as Chairman of Satyam Computer Services after the government disbanded the erstwhile Satyam board. He has been instrumental in turning the company around from bankruptcy and finding a suitable match in TechMahindra. He steered Satyam out of crisis,securing jobs of more than 50,000 employees, ensuring business continuity, service and sustainability for customers, while re-instating shareholder value. While in his earlier incarnation, he positioned India prominently for its software expertise, this time around, Mr Karnik has put Indian management expertise in resolving corporate crisis into the global hall of fame.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.

 

Challenger of the Year: Inclusion - J M Garg, CMD, Corporation Bank

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Financial inclusion should be made a national priority, both in words and in action, is a belief that Mr J M Garg stands by and strives for. For him, it is not a social obligation but a commercially viable activity. And this is evident in his stewardship of Corporation Bank’s financial inclusion initiatives. Mr Garg is a person who believes that inclusion must follow increasing awareness and changing mindsets—both of the ground-level banker and of the financially excluded. He also believes that as there might be some infrastructural constraints in setting up banks in certain places, technology will be a great enabler in tapping these unbanked areas. Under Mr Garg, Corporation Bank has also been able to tap the Self Help Group model to spread branchless banking in the country.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.March 18, 2010 AWARD.



Challenger of the Year: Infrastructure - Hari Sankaran, MD & CEO, IL&FS

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With his knowledge and foresight on the economic scenario of the country, Mr Hari Sankaran has helped steer IL&FS in executing a series of critical initiatives in infrastructure development and implementation space. His primary interest areas include fostering relationship between communities, infrastructure development and economic growth. Under him, IL&FS has pioneered the concept of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangements in infrastructure in India and has expanded its footprint from telecom, power and roads to airports, ports, water and sanitation, environment, urban infrastructure and education. On the social front too, Mr Sankaran is a committed player with a strong belief in the universalisation of education and realising the 3Ls—Learning for Life; Learning for Livelihood; and Lifelong Learning. He evolved a cluster-based and multi-stakeholder approach for development of employment intensive sectors like textiles, leather and food processing to address critical needs like infrastructure, finance, market linkages and skill development. The cluster development initiative has benefited 50,000 rural youth below poverty line with a vision to train and place one million youth over next five years to supplement poverty alleviation efforts of the government.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.March 18, 2010 AWARD




 



Challenger of the Year: Economics  - Shankar Acharya, Member, Board of Governors & Honorary Professor, ICRIER

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Instrumental in formulating and implementing many reform policies, Dr Shankar Acharya is a person who has served the longest as Chief Economic Adviser, from 1993 to 2001. Dr Acharya is a man of many dimensions. As his collection of essays, ‘Can India grow without Bharat’, highlights the growth of India is yet to become inclusive. His concern over inclusive growth is evident in all his writings and he is clear that the Indian story of growth, especially in post-liberalisation era, has been overshadowed by multiple human development issues. Exclusion, he says, is the primary reason for unequal distribution of the benefits of growth. Dr Acharya is now Member, Board of Governors and Honorary Professor with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and additionally serves on many boards.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.March 18, 2010 AWARD



Challenger of the Year: Grassroots - BASIX

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Financial inclusion is an oft-repeated word. But, if there is one institution that is putting action before the word, it is BASIX.Established in 1996 as a livelihood promotion institution, 90 percent of its customers are rural poor households and the rest urban slum dwellers. With presence in 16 states, 205 districts over 25,300 villages and one and half million customers, its commitment to promoting sustainable livelihood for the poor, be it a rickshaw puller,carpenter or even a cobbler, its commitment remains un-wavered. It is an institution that is successfully providing a comprehensive set of livelihood promotion services, including financial inclusion services, agricultural / business development services and institutional development services, under one umbrella even as it strives to maintain a competitive rate of return on its operations. BASIX is now going to the next level of financial inclusion, moving from fixed line BC outlets to mobile BC outlets. This will take banking to a doorstep of every rural household.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.



Challenger of the Year: Banking - M V Nair, CMD, Union Bank of India

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If you mix innovation and drive, you get a result-oriented person like M V Nair. Very early in his career Mr Nair showed how the successful introduction of cash management services in a bank would gives it an edge over others. His tenure has been characterised by a series of innovations that have put Union Bank on a trajectory of quality growth. Under Mr Nair, Union Bank, with other banks, also promoted a company that linked technology and financial services to promote greater financial inclusion. Again, in Union Bank, Mr Nair has successfully introduced a change process called “Project Nav Nirman” by leveraging technology, changing processes and empowering people, thereby transforming the bank into a customer centric marketing organisation. As Chairman of the Indian Banks Association, Mr Nair has worked tirelessly to ensure that banks work out a strategy to facilitate branchless banking in villages. Passionate about financial inclusion he is relentlessly pushing for increase in the number of business correspondents to penetrate banking services in the hinterland.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.(Recieved by S C Kalia)

Challenger of the Year: Disaster Management - N V C Memon  Member, NDMA

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A champion for greater community and civil society involvement in disaster management, Prof N Vinod Chandra Menon is an expert in earthquakes and Tsunami. He has gone through extensive training on Disaster Management in Russia. While he was working at the Centre for Disaster Management, Pune, he coordinated the preparation of state and district disaster management plans, the setting up of a state-wide satellite-based Emergency Operations Centre network and the preparation of spatial and non-spatial overlays of ARCINFO-based geographic information system covering 43,000 villages in 35 districts of Maharashtra. Earlier,working with the UNICEF, Prof. Menon coordinated the UNICEF response to floods in several states, drought in Rajasthan, post earthquake rehabilitation efforts in Gujarat and the Indian Ocean Tsunami in the affected states and Union Territories, including Andaman & Nicobar islands. He is one person who has trudged miles in affected areas to gain first hand experience to help formulate practical solutions.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


 

 

Challenger of the Year: Education-  Ravi Venkatesan ,Chairman, Microsoft Corp India

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For someone who realises that the key to a digitally inclusive society lies not just in increasing the number of people who have access to computers but in improving overall literacy and employability, Mr Ravi Venkatsen has come a long way. For him, technology is not the divider instead it is the bridge that ensures inclusive growth. And it is this passion that has seen him push for IT education, both as a subject of study and as the key facilitator in providing affordable access to education and skills. As one of the key enablers in Microsoft’s project, Unlimited Potential, he has done his utmost to take IT from the boardrooms to the street. Project Bhasha and Project Shiksha are only just two of the projects that he and his team in Microsoft India are executing for accelerating IT literacy.
‘Inspired by India’, Mr Venkatesan therefore ‘innovates for India’, certain that as more people move up the economic ladder, such growth would be good for the overall socio-economic development of India.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.



Challenger of the Year: Business Model  - S Sridhar, CMD, Central Bank of India

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Mr S Sridhar, as head of Central Bank of India is seeking to transform it into a techno-savvy, a market-responsive, customer-oriented, expertise laden, and problem-solving institution. Under his leadership the bank has launched what is called “Operation Rejuvenation”, which involves enhancing the capability of its employees, upgrading its branches to give them a new look, and also in terms of processes and products that it is offering to its customers. This is an agenda that only reflects how open to innovation Mr
Sridhar is. In fact, it was this innovation that was evident when Mr Sridhar launched the rural housing microfinance at the National Housing bank, introducing for the first time a concept, where the housing loan was bundled with another loan for undertaking a commercial activity. Mr Sridhar is also instrumental in launching the reverse-mortgage scheme — a loan product, which allowed senior citizens to receive monthly income from their homes even as they continued to occupy it. He has displayed rare sensitivity for the under-served senior citizen community and developed an innovative bridge between the banking system and the senior citizens. Team Skoch visited Chennai, interacted with beneficiaries and documented the outcomes.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.



Challenger of the Year: Security - Raghu Raman, Secretary & CEO, NATGRID

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An authority on national security, information risk and counterintelligence,Capt Raghu Raman, is country’s best-known name when it comes to corporate security and risk mitigation. Capt Raman has played a pioneering role in advising and helping over 100 organizations de-risk their business and enhance competitive advantage while strengthening security management and change management. The need for de-risking corporate businesses was more pronounced post 26/11 terror attacks. He has been instrumental in instilling a sense of security amongst these corporates in an extremely volatile environment. Capt Raman has now been deputed as Secretary & CEO of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project. A former soldier, with a 10-year stint in the Indian Army, Capt Raman is one of the few private  sector professionals who have been inducted in the national security establishment.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.



Challenger of the Year: Livelihood Linkage - Punjab National Bank, Bulandshar Project

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It is not often that a commercial bank joins hands with a state-owned company to execute a sustainable and progressive cooperative structure at the grassroots level. But this is exactly what Punjab National Bank did when it associated itself with Mother Dairy to launch a project for milk producers in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh.

The project, which streamlined the process of milk procurement and eliminated private players, including moneylenders, from the chain,sees money being directly credited into the accounts of the primary milk producers through Business Correspondents. Today, rural milk producers own and command the resources to develop their dairy business, with project having expanded to 70 villages, with financial assistance totalling 15.2 million rupees being extended to over 95 per cent of the eligible milk producers in the area. Team Skoch recently visited Bulandshahr, interacted with the beneficiaries and documented the outcomes.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi


Challenger of the Year: E-Governance - National Informatics Centre, Transport Project

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NIC’s remarkable contribution has been computerisation and integration of Regional Transport Offices across the country; enabling issuance of licenses and registration certificates from anywhere in the country, avoiding duplication and fraud. A single unified system, both from the interoperability perspective as well as creating a National Register, NIC has diligently integrated the pieces of software that were built over a period of time into a single unified application, known as Vahan and Sarathi. These were then customised to suit the requirements of individual states. This is one application that has scaled within a targeted time frame and that too on a national level.

All of the 1,000 odd RTOs across the country have been computerised,most of the states have made headway in creating state registers and a national register is in place. This initiative has brought in a lot of customer satisfaction along with transparency, efficiency and responsiveness in the system.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


Challenger of the Year: Public Private Partnership - RIDCOR

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Marrying the capacity at the state level through a partnership programme of the public and private sector has seen the Road Infrastructure Development Company of Rajasthan Ltd (RIDCOR) take connectivity in Rajasthan to new heights. A 50:50 venture of the Government of Rajasthan and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), RIDCOR was mandated with executing the country’s first-ever mega highways project. The project is a unique experience because for the first time, road connectivity is being seen as a platform to support urbanisation, tourism, employment and livelihoods. The impact of road connectivity is already visible at places – social milieu, access to health services, education, market, and access to employment opportunities have all improved. Under the project 1053 kilometre long network is being created in the state and it remains an inspiring example of seamless working of public and private personnel to achieve high standards in road infrastructure building.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


Challenger of the Year: Bank - Bank of Baroda

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Not many commercial banks have a passion for agriculture and rural development, and the aim to serve the common man ingrained in their philosophy. But for Bank of Baroda, this is an essential element and is evident, if one looks at its recent initiatives to improve financial inclusion. Apart from introducing the business facilitator and business correspondent model to accelerate financial inclusion so as to augment its agricultural portfolio, the bank has achieved 100 per cent financial inclusion in 21 of the 44 districts where it is the lead bank. The Bank has adopted 101 villages for integrated development. Baroda Grameen Paramarsh Kendra, an initiative to help the rural community by providing credit counselling, financial literacy and other services is now operational in 52 centres. This enables synergy and liaison between farmers’ clubs, SHGs, NGOs,rural marketing agencies, input suppliers and rural markets, in addition to taking commercial banking to new levels of service provision. For an institution that sees such social initiatives as adding value to its commercial goals, it is indeed a welcome departure.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.

Challenger of the Year: Inclusion Institution -  NABARD

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NABARD has played a pioneering role in financial inclusion by extending formal banking services to the unreached rural poor by evolving supplementary credit strategies in a cost effective manner by promoting Self Help groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups,Farmers’ Clubs etc. As on 31 March 2009, 4.2 million SHGs were credit linked – out of a total of 6.1 million - covering more than 700 million poor households, making it the largest micro finance programme in the world. Its Village Development Programme has spread over 421 districts across 25 states. It has formed over 38,215 Farmers’ Clubs spread in 581 districts and helped set up District Rural Industries in 106 districts. Amongst its capacity building initiatives – Rural Entrepreneurship Development Program has helped thousands of women gain meaningful occupations. It also strengthens the rural credit delivery system through appropriate interventions and institutional development. In all, the beneficiary list of NABARD initiatives stands upwards of 120 million.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


Challenger of the Year: Research Institution - National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

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Policy reform is critically about the life of the mind. Ideas spring up through visionaries, are brought into the mainstream policy discourse through intellectuals and the press, which sets the stage for decisions by politicians and implementation by civil servants. The public battleground of ideas is an essential feature of democracy: competing visions are debated and the consensus is forged. Intellectuals at think tanks have to dispassionately analyse problems, be guided by the evidence and not by emotions,look at the international evidence, and speak about where India should be going. National Institute of Public Finance and Policy– NIPFP - has been an outstanding think tank, in marrying the world of the mind with the world of policy reform. Working in close partnership with Ministry of Finance, the NIPFP has displayed intellectual leadership in areas such as taxation, broader macroeconomic and financial sector policy.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


Challenge of the Year: Municipality - Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

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Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is today an example for other urban local bodies having successfully introduced several IT initiatives that focus on providing bestintegrated civic services to its citizens. MCGM is the only urban municipality to have all 240-odd services available on the web with an e-payment gateway in place. Having already been awarded the Skoch Challenger Award, its nomination again only highlights the progress and leadership that MCGM has maintained in urban governance while other municipalities in the country lag behind by miles. MCGM understands the importance of institutionalisation of e-governance and the results are seen in the form of enhanced citizen satisfaction with improvement in services and better revenue mobilisation.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi

Challenger of the Year: Governance - Sunil Mitra, Secretary, Revenue

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Mr Sunil Mitra is credited with putting in place the right power dynamics in West Bengal. Spearheading power reforms in the state, he oversaw the provision of a large capacity building support over a three-year transition period to build the base for an organisational transformation in the restructured power utilities. Under him, there was continued focus on capacity building and filling up fresh positions with trained professionals. The outcome: improved power availability; stable tariffs; efficiency gains in the T&D businesses; and, revenue support from the export of energy surpluses during the off-peak.

He supervised the framing of realistic business plans by West Bengal that helped internalise reforms through an evolutionary and participative processes and build ownership among ‘Champions of Change’ within the organisation.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.


Challenger of the Year: Power Sector - West Bengal

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In a country where electricity supply is a recurring issue, West Bengal stands out like a shining beacon. It is the only state where unbundling of its State Electricity Board (SEB) has an associated financial restructuring plan, including approvals, composite measure for governance and internal structural improvements. Its innovative approach has led to complete revamping of its power structure with the state continuing to play a major role albeit in more market oriented manner. About 54 per cent of the state’s power generation capacity and around 70 per cent of energy distribution is handled by state agencies even though it has a multiple-licensee situation in place. It is a fascinating turnaround story that was executed without a single demonstration or court case. The Left-ruled state managed to make its electricity board profit making in 2006 - a remarkable feat - since it was only in late-2000 that it initiated the reforms process. Team Skoch studied the project and documented the achievements of the state in power sector recently.

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on this 18th day of March 2010, at New Delhi.