A lady who is in the list of Forbes 100 most powerful women in the world, a lady whom Forbes India columnist calls the bio-tech queen of India, who wanted to be a Medical Doctor, but couldn’t as her father refuse to pay the capitation fees demanded by the medical college as a matter of principle. Indian Industries gained that doesn’t mean medicines lost. Her company Biocon, a company that she founded and grounds today, is one of the top 20 global leading bio-technology companies, an Othmer Gold Medal winner for her contributions to the progress of Science & Chemistry – Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
It was very surprising for me to know that this great Entrepreneur is also an Author and I started reading her book – India’s innovation Challenge for economic development. As an entrepreneur she has always been driven by the spirit of challenge. Challenge she believes brings opportunity which in turn drives innovation. According to her this the wheel of development and progress. India as a country is faced with endless challenges which are what in her opinion makes it also a land of great opportunities. “It is for us to convert these opportunities into outcomes through innovation that can turn this wheel of development and progress”- Kiran narrated.
‘Lakshmi Nizamuddin’ a lady who inspired Kiran- How? Let’s see-
Kiran once quoted, “Woman of rare virtue and for medieval stretcher for whom I had the deepest admiration, Lakshmi Nizamuddin was a woman who was not in any way was handicapped by her disability but rather displayed courage, passion and amazing strength to pursue agendas that were of socio-economic importance and transformation in their objective. She committed herself to the cause of seeking social equality for the handicapped and was a President of National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped, a post that she held from 1975 and organised first ever national sports for the handicapped in Bangalore in the same year”.
She directed the school for impaired speech and hearing and organised talent contests for the handicapped and also ensured job placements for the disabled. Her unstinted support for those who disadvantage because of their disabilities saw her fight for their seat reservation at professional colleges and even their participation at Republic Day and Independence Day parades. A part from deep commitment to various causes she engaged herself on various other fronts from being a member of the Karnataka Film Censor Board to the telephone advisory board, Indian Red Cross and many other distinguished bodies.
“Lakshmi Nizamuddin was truly a woman of substance who drew much of her strength from her husband” – Kiran said. Lakshmi and Rahim Nizamuddin along with their son Rahil have epitomized the secular tenets of Indian society, particularly Bangalore which has always been held up as an example of open and cosmopolitan city and Kiran hopes to preserve this particular culture that the people are proud of today.
India’s innovation Challenge for economic development looks at the challenges that we face today as country. There are absolutely daunting challenges. Poverty 80% of our population live on less than 3$ a day. When we come on healthcare, 65% of our people don’t have medical access. Only 19% population have access to sanitation. Literacy India has a 74% literacy rate which is well below the world average of 84%. India accounts for 35% of World’s illiterate population. India’s Infrastructure: 3.3 million km-long road network is the 3rd largest in the world but only 14% conforms to international road standards. Apart from these challenges we have others as well like in telecommunication though we have world’s largest subscriber base but we face a challenge of huge bandwidth. 69% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood but agriculture productivity is among world’s lowest. Electrification: 400 million Indians in 18000 villages have no access to electricity. 22% of children are under nourished. In addition to these challenges there is corruption and now terrorism. On the other hand we see India as rising and vibrant economy with the potential of being an emerging economic power. We are considered as the 4th largest economy in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. We are the second fastest growing economy after china, the youngest population demographics with fastest growing incomes and aspirations. We have growing leadership in several industrial sectors. We are the largest milk producers in the world. We are the largest mobile phone subscriber base globally and an emerging nuclear energy leader. Therefore it is evident that unless we overcome these challenges we cannot we cannot realize the aspirations to become a true Global power.
In opinion of Kiran, it will take enormous innovation and out of box thinking to convert these challenges into successful outcomes for a country as large as India.
As a reader I felt, that Kiran has rightly pointed out the challenges that we as a country are facing and it is very important for us to encourage innovation in almost every field today to overcome or mitigate these challenges. Kiran has also mentioned various points that encourage innovations and help in turning the wheel of development. The book contains lots of factual and statistical information that somewhere increases the knowledge of the reader about India and I felt its a good read.
Kiran was particularly impressed by the way how challenges can be converted into opportunities just like Lakshmi did all her life and more importantly how such opportunities can deliver transformational change through innovative thought in action just as Lakshmi did with her challenge of disability and inspired her to write a book “India’s Innovation Challenge for Economic Development”, What inspired you to write? Share your story with us…