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Chavan bats for 'innovation economy'

BS Annual Awards honours excellence

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said it would not be the country’s natural resources that would make it rich, but the intellectual innovation of millions of young people.

“We cannot become a rich country based on our natural resources. Vinod Rai (the comptroller and auditor general) has told us about natural resources in the last week... how do we price them... how do we distribute them — assets such as spectrum, coal or sand in Mumbai, natural forests or water — how we divide them equitably. How we share them and price them is a great challenge,” Chavan said here in his keynote address at the Business Standard Awards.

“One thing is clear. It is not resources. It will be our intellectual prowess that will make us rich. We can build an economy based on innovation,” he added. The chief minister said he was happy to see examples of that had innovated and thrived in a short span of time, referring to Flipkart which won the Business Standard innovative company of the year award.

“We will run out of natural resources. But our young millions will change this country,” he added.

He also said the common man was discovering the price of giving fractured mandates. “The political system in India is under stress because of too much populism and the fractured mandates people are delivering.”

He said the winners of the Business Standard awards had put the focus on the role leaders could play when the country was at a crossroads. In a situation where “institutions are being tested and we don’t know how the global economy shapes up, they have shown us the way”.

Earlier, the chief minister gave away awards to the winners. The CEO of the Year award went to Bajaj Auto MD & CEO Rajiv Bajaj for successfully turning around the company, which was facing one of its worst crises in 2008.

Realising specialisation and positioning were key areas, Bajaj cut the clutter and focused on two brands, Discover and Pulsar. The strategy paid off. Bajaj Auto is now India's most profitable two-wheeler manufacturer.

The BS Banker award went to Rana Kapoor, the founder, MD & CEO of YES Bank. The bank, one of the youngest lenders in the country, was founded by Kapoor in 2004. In the first six years of its operations, it witnessed a compounded annual growth rate of 74 per cent. Last financial year, the bank’s net profit surged 52 per cent from a year earlier to Rs 727 crore.

The Company of the Year award went to the Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions, a company that has been adding more incremental business than India’s top three software exporters. Though Cognizant, headed by CEO Francisco D'Souza, is not listed in India and BS awards have traditionally considered only listed companies, the jury decided to make an exception. For, Cognizant has most of its operations in India and 75 per cent of its workforce is based here. The award was received by the company’s Vice Chairman Lakshmi Narayanan.

While the Star MNC of the year was Nestle India, the Star PSU of the Year award went to the country's largest iron ore producer, NMDC Ltd. Jubilant FoodWorks, founded by the Bhartia brothers, Shyam S Bhartia (Chairman) and Hari S Bhartia (Co-chairman) won the SME of the year award.

Prashant Jain of HDFC AMC got the Equity Fund Manager of the Year award, while Chaitanya Pande of ICICI Prudential was the Debt Fund Manager of the Year.

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First Published: Thu, March 29 2012. 00:43 IST