OCTOBER 10, 2004
 Cover Story
 Personal Finance
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Q&A: Montek Singh Ahluwalia
The celebrated Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission speaks to BT Online on the shape of post-liberalisation planning to come. What prompted his return to India, what exactly is the Commission up to, what panchayats mean to India's future, and yes, the relevance of Planning in the market era.

Of Mice...
Mouse-click yourself any which way in cyberspace; why net-surfing plans are such a drag.

More Net Specials
Business Today,  September 26, 2004
The Power Puff Herald
The Most Powerful Women in Business club: From left (standing). Kalli Singh, Publisher, Today, Secretary General of the club, Villoo Morawala Patell, CEO, Avestha Gengraine, Mallika Srinivasan, Director, TAFE, Vineeta Rai, Revenue Secretary, Government of India, Lalita Gupte, Joint MD, ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, Anu Aga, Chairperson, Thermax, Naina Lal Kidwai, Deputy CEO, HSBC, Swati Piramal, Director, Strategic Alliances, Nicholas Piramal and Founder Chairperson of the club, Meenakshi Madhvani, CEO, Spatial Access, Zia Mody, Corporate Lawyer, AZB & Partners, Gita Piramal, Managing Editor, The Smart Manager. From left (sitting) Shikha Sharma, CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Renuka Ramnath, CEO, ICICI Venture, Dipti Neelakantan, COO, JM Morgan Stanley, Vedika Bhandarkar, MD, JP Morgan India, Madhabi Puri-Buch, Country Head, Operations and Service Delivery, ICICI Bank, and Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering.

India's Most Powerful Women Recognised

Mumbai, September 11

Some of India's most powerful women in business were felicitated at a glittering ceremony that was held at the Taj Land's End yesterday. Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi felicitated the 25 women picked by Business Today in its annual listing The 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business. The event was presented by Electrolux; the company's MD Rajeev Karwal was also present on the occasion.

The 25 came from all walks of business. There were those that had inherited the mantle of their family businesses such as Thermax Chairperson Anu Aga, TAFE Director Mallika Srinivasan, and Kinetic Joint Managing Director, Sulajja Firodia Motwani. There were professionals that had proved their worth to their organisations such as ICICI bank Joint Managing Director Lalita Gupte and HSBC Deputy CEO Naina Lal Kidwai. And there were those that had veered off the beaten track to do something entirely new, such as business historian Gita Piramal.

The evening also saw the release of Business Today's special issue, The 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business by Ms Dikshit. Apart from profiles of the 25 women, the issue also featured a list of 20 Women To Watch and India's first ever survey on working women, conducted by ACNielsen ORG-MARG.

Business Today's Most Powerful Women In Business Club Launched

Mumbai, September 11

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Actually, that's an exaggeration of sorts. Working women (the term is tautological, women may point out, since all of them work), or women in business got a voice of their own yesterday with the launch of the Business Today Most Powerful Women in Business club. The membership of the club is automatically open to all women who feature in the magazine's listing of The 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business.

The formation of the club was announced by the India Today Group's Editor-in-Chief and CEO Aroon Purie. Mr Purie promised that the club would work towards furthering the cause of women in business. Present on the occasion were the club's Founder Chairperson Ms Swati Piramal, Secretary General Kalli Singh (Publisher of Business Today's sister publication Today), and 16 of the Group's 32 other members.

Power woman and power womena: Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit releasing the issue. With her is India Today Group Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie

The 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business

Arnavaj 'Anu' Aga, Chairperson, Thermax

Vedika Bhandarkar, Managing Director & Head (Investment Banking), J.P. Morgan India

Shobhana Bhartia, Vice Chairperson, The Hindustan Times Ltd.

V.M. Chhabria, Chairperson, Jumbo Group

Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering

Lalita Gupte, Joint Managing Director, ICICI Bank

Kavita Hurry, Managing Director, ING Vysya Mutual Fund

Renu Karnad, Executive Director, HDFC

Chanda Kochhar, Executive Director, ICICI Bank

Naina Lal Kidwai, Deputy CEO, HSBC

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon

Zia Mody, Corporate Lawyer, AZB & Partners

Kalpana Morparia, Deputy Managing Director, ICICI Bank

Sunita Narain, Chairperson, Centre for Science and Environment

Dipti Neelakantan, Chief Operating Officer, J.M. Morgan Stanley

Amrita Patel, Chairperson, National Dairy Development Board

Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels

Gita Piramal, Managing Editor, The Smart Manager

Swati Piramal, Head, Strategic Alliances and Communications, Nicholas Piramal

Madhabi Puri Buch, Country Head, Operations and Service Delivery, ICICI Bank

Renuka Ramnath, CEO, ICICI Venture

Hema Ravichandar, Senior Vice President and Group Head, HRD, Infosys Technologies

Preetha Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group

Shikha Sharma, CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance

Mallika Srinivasan, Director, Tractors and Farm Equipment

India Today Editor-In-Chief Praises Women In Business

Mumbai, September 11

"If a woman wants to achieve something, she will"
Sheila Dixit,
CM, Delhi
"Women can ba ruthless and that's good for business"
Aroon Purie,
Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group
"The idea of stability is ingrained in women"
Swati Piramal,
Director, Strategic Alliances, Nicholas Piramal

The biggest venture capital company in India, ICICI Venture, the biggest biotech company in India, Biocon, and the biggest hr department in the country (in terms of resumés processed, Infosys) are all headed by women. That was one nugget from the speech of Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group at a function organised yesterday to felicitate the most powerful women in business.

Women, said Mr Purie, are natural managers. They can multi-task, boast good inter-personal and conflict resolution skills, are more empathetic, and are budget conscious. ''Men need to remain grounded,'' he said. ''They tend to take off; they consider themselves immortal, believe things will never end, that the glory will always be there, and women are there to ground them.''

Mr Purie also pulled out statistics to show that more women were joining the workforce: at the start of 2000, only a quarter of the jobs on offer at job site naukri.com were filled by women; today, it is 35 per cent, he pointed out.

Women Aren't Just Good Managers, Says CM, They Are Great Human Beings

Mumbai, September 11

It was only apt that one of India's most powerful women speak at an event organised yesterday to felicitate the most powerful women in business. Delhi cm Sheila Dikshit expressed her hope that the role women play would finally be recognised in the 21st century. ''Women have been at work since the dawn of civilisation,'' she said, ''but it is only now in the 21st century that this is being evaluated in terms of economic growth and economic independence. Ms Dikshit detailed how empowered women in rural areas were changing their own lives, and the lives of those around them for the better. ''If a woman wants to achieve something she will do it,'' said Ms Dikshit. ''The women in this room will understand what motivates her although I am not so sure the men will-women are not just wonderful managers, but also good human beings.'' The cm released Business Today's special issue on The 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business and felicitated the winners.

We're Power Chicks, Says Swati Piramal

Mumbai, September 11

Coming from a man, that term may have been construed as an insult, but coming as it did from Swati Piramal, Director, Strategic Alliances and Corporate Communications, Nicholas Piramal, and the Founder Chairperson of the Business Today Most Powerful Women In Business club, the description went down well with the women gathered at an event to felicitate the most powerful women in business. Civilisation, said Ms Piramal, had become extremely masculine. ''Women must step in and impart their life power to this reckless movement of power,'' she said. ''Can we 25 women influence things?'' asked Ms Piramal. ''Can we make a difference?'' Then, she went on to describe the kind of issues-work life balance, the glass ceiling, empowerment, education-that the club would discuss. ''We will also party,'' she laughed. And the women gathered proceeded to do just that.

Up-And-Coming Women There Too

Mumbai, September 11

Schauna Chauhan, the 'Frooti' heiress was there. As were Hemu Ramaiah, the lady behind India's most successful chain of bookstores, Landmark, Ashu Suyash, the Indian business head of one of the world's largest mutual fund companies Fidelity, Manisha Girotra, CEO of UBS Securities, Komal Wazir, Executive Director, Shaw Wallace, Meher Pdumjee, Chairperson-designate, Thermax and Vishaka Mulye, the ICICI Bank fast-tracker who pioneered the securitisation of non performing assets.

It wasn't just a sampling of Business Today's 25 Most Powerful Women In Indian Business that was present at a function organised yesterday to felicitate them; also present were several listers from the magazine's Twenty Women To Watch, up-and-coming ladies that the magazine believes will one day be in the main listing. Judging from the track record of some of the 20, they are getting there faster than anyone thought they would.

Where Have All The Men Gone?

Mumbai, September 11

From left: Rajeev Karwal, Mallika Srinivasan, Director, TAFE, Sheila Dikshit, Renuka Ramnath, CEO, ICICI Venture, Shikha Sharma, MD, ICICI Prudential, and Aroon Purie

It must have been the fact that they were good human beings (apart from great managers), as mentioned by Delhi cm Sheila Dikshit that prevented the women gathered at a function to felicitate the most powerful women in business from cracking jokes at the expense of the other sex. Men, you see, were a minority at the event, even if one were to take into account the almost all-male service staff of the Taj Land's End that attended to the needs of the guests. That (the fact that the audience had more women than men) was only apt. The women themselves seemed thrilled to be part of an evening that was all the more colourful for the fact that one didn't have to look at the boring greys and blacks that men prefer to sport on such occasions. There was silky black. There was vivid orange. There were shocking pink, electric blue, vibrant green, and other similar striking shades. There were also a few children around (courtesy JP Morgan India's Vedika Bhandarkar and Thermax's Meher Pudumjee who made an appearance with their children). However, like true sportswomen, the women clapped the loudest when men picked up the trophies on behalf of Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and NBBD's Amrita Patel.

It wasn't that the evening was entirely bereft of powerful men. Apart from high-profile editors of the India Today Group (Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie, Group Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla, and Business Today Editor Sanjoy Narayan), and Electrolux CEO Rajeev Karwal there was a smattering of the species that could be seen. There was Dominic Price, the head of JP Morgan's Indian operations, Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman, Videocon, Soli Sorabjee, Attorney General of India (and Zia Mody's father), Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India (and Zia Mody's brother), Madhukar Kamath, CEO, Mudra, Tej Pavan Gandhok, Country Head, Stern Stewart, Adi Godrej, Jimmy Mistry, CEO, JL Morrison, and car designer Dilip Chhabria. However, the sheer number (and credentials) of the women present (that included Tina Ambani and Parmeshwar Godrej) overwhelmed them. And that's just the way it should have been.

Electrolux CEO Speaks Of Brand's Association With Women

Mumbai, September 11

Women are an important audience for the makers of white goods (think refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens and the like). In some cases they are the people making the purchase decision. In other cases, they have a role to play in the decision. Speaking on the occasion of an event presented by his company, Electrolux, to felicitate the most powerful women in business (as listed by Business Today), the company's CEO Rajeev Karwal spoke of the brand's emphasis on women, not just in terms of communication, but also in terms of events. ''We even organised a self-defence workshop for women in Delhi,'' said Karwal, explaining one initiative undertaken by the company to build a franchise with women.

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