August 26th, 2011Business & Economy, Inspiration/ Positive News and Features, Leaders, Science & Technology
True to form, Azim Premji has an austere meal in front of him.
It’s not for lack of choice. His company, Wipro Ltd., has laid out an array of decadent pastries, hot drinks and a rainbow platter of fruit for our interview at his new Canadian office. Mr. Premji, India’s third-richest man, has selected seven strawberries and a cup of tea.
Mr. Premji is not like other billionaires. He built his father’s vegetable oil company into a global software empire with operations in dozens of countries, yet he still flies economy class. He walks to work. He does not own a yacht. And in December, he was responsible for the largest lump-sum donation in his country’s history, pledging $2-billion (U.S.) to support rural schools in India.
That generosity is one of the reasons Western media have dubbed him India’s Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who shares a technological bent and who, like Mr. Premji, dropped out of school. But Mr. Premji is different. For one, he returned to finish his degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University three decades later, a feat he’s quite proud of. For another, his vibe is more professorial than tech nerd.
Mr. Premji has long focused his attention on the developing world, seeing huge potential in major growth markets such as India, China and the Middle East. On this day, dressed in a dapper grey suit and burgundy tie, he is sitting in an office in an industrial area of Mississauga, talking about why Canada now plays such a key role in his company’s growth plans.
Sales here more than doubled in the past year, even before the company ramped up plans and decided to set up the Mississauga headquarters. Wipro aims to double revenue again in the next year. “It’s a reasonably large market. It’s English-speaking. We think it is a country which is economically very stable, growing, and it produces oil, which helps today in terms of having solid growth. And we have underinvested in it,” he says. “We’re taking it seriously now.”
Wipro now has 2,100 workers supporting its Canadian operations in business services, of which 300 are in Canada. It will add at least 100 more jobs in the country this year with its eco-energy division, which aims to manage energy reductions and cut companies’ carbon footprints. It will also branch out into servicing financial, retail and telecom firms in areas such as billings.
Mr. Premji is a journalist’s dream interview: his answers are succinct. He does not stray alarmingly off-topic. He remembers meeting you the year before. He doesn’t pepper his language with jargon.
His business background began with a lurch. At age 21, while studying at Stanford, he got a phone call informing him that his 51-year-old father had died of a heart attack. Azim would have to take over the family’s business – then called Western India Vegetable Products – with annual sales of about $2-million.
At his first shareholders’ meeting, he remembers someone telling him to sell his shares to an older colleague because he couldn’t run such a complex company. Instead, he bought business textbooks and studied them at night. He turned the cooking fat firm into a consumer products company that produced laundry soap and light bulbs. He diversified into information technology – printers and personal computers – and then into global outsourcing.
Today, Bangalore-based Wipro is India’s third-largest information technology exporter. It operates in 55 countries with more than 108,000 employees and sales of about $6-billion. Its businesses range from software and green energy services to consulting and outsourcing. Mr. Premji has a net worth of $16.8-billion, Forbes said this week.
The growth hasn’t come without setbacks. “Many things have failed,” he says. In the mid-1990s, he branched into financial services. “We didn’t understand the depth or the intricacy of the business. And we finally backed off. And we paid an expensive price for that.” What did he learn? “You cannot get into business for the fashion of it,” he says. You need a commitment which is long term and a commitment to leadership, because that’s the only way you build excellence.”
In a country plagued with corruption problems, he has made a public point of never paying bribes. “You can do clean business in India,” he says. “We have found we get better employees because of it, with more pride and more character. We get better partners, because they trust us. And we get more trusting customers because of it.”
Global challenges remain. Inflation is a broad concern – while he doesn’t see hyper-inflation, he is worried about rising prices in emerging markets.
“Messy consequences” from unrest in the Middle East is another worry. Everyone aspires to democracy, to a degree of control over their lives, he says. But in the process, there will be “uncertainty and major stumbling.
“And major frustrations expressed by people over what they’ve inherited.”
Economic clout is tilting towards emerging markets and away from advanced economies, he said in a recent speech at the Davos World Economic Forum. In the next decade, he expects emerging countries will have a $20-trillion economy – much larger than the $15-trillion U.S. economy. That means multinational companies will have to develop affordable products to suit local needs, he believes.
Much of his own attention is shifting. On Dec. 1, Mr. Premji said he plans to transfer $1.95-billion worth of shares to a trust that will fund social initiatives, particularly elementary education in rural India. He now spends 10 per cent of his time on the foundation, and he expects that will grow to a quarter of his time in the next few years.
Mr. Premji won’t say whether he plans to give away all his money, à la Warren Buffett. But he has said the trust is expected to expand “significantly” in the coming years. He sees this as the single best way of improving his country.
Much of Mr. Premji’s efforts are focused on girls – keep them in school, give them a basic education, ensure teachers show up for work, empower female leaders at the village level and you will see better health outcomes and smaller families. “How can you contribute towards building the Indian society and the Indian nation? No better way than to upgrade the quality of young people in school, particularly the schools which are run by the state government in the villages.”
Then, there is the matter of Mr. Premji’s frugality. He has made some concessions in recent years – he now flies business class on long-haul flights, and economy domestically. He used to drive a Ford Escort, then a Toyota Corolla. These days it’s a Volkswagen Skoda Laura. He is still arrives at the office at 6 a.m., works until almost 7 p.m. and toils after dinner and on weekends. He treks in the countryside, alone or with companions, on the weekends to clear his head.
His sister lives in Halifax with her children. Mr. Premji appears to genuinely like Canada – and is impressed with the Indo-Canadian community, which numbers close to a million people and has potential to help strengthen trade ties between the two countries.
“The Indian community in Canada has integrated much better than the Indian community in United States. They’ve become really Canadian at the same time as keeping all their Indian characters and customs and social groups. It’s a very unique blend, I’ve not seen it in this intensity anywhere else. And they’re doing well.”
source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com / by Tavia Grant / for Saturday Globe and Mail / Mar 11th, 2011Tags: Azim Premji, Bangalore based Wipro, Chairman Wipro Ltd, Global Software Company, India's Bill Gates, India's third largest information technology exporter, India's third richest man, Mississauga Headquartered, Recent speech at Davos World Economic Forum, Responsible for the largest lump-sum donation in India's history, Western India Vegetable Products, Wipro, Wipro's Canadian Office
Orissa’s famous famous Kotpad Handloom fabric and Ikat registered with Geographical Indications (GI) Registry. (Darjeeling tea has been registered twice in the GI Registry).
Darjeeling tea is among the 28 Indian products registered with the Geographical Indications (GI) Registry. (Darjeeling tea has been registered twice in the GI Registry). The other products are: Pochampally Ikat (Andhra Pradesh); Chanderi saree (Guna, Madhya Pradesh); Kotpad Handloom fabric (Koraput, Orissa); Kota Doria (Kota, Rajasthan); Kancheepuram silk (Tamil Nadu); Bhavani Jamakkalam (Erode, Tamil Nadu); Mysore Agarbathi (Mysore, Karnataka); Aranmula Kannadi (Kerala); Salem fabric (Tamil Nadu); Solapur terry towel (Maharashtra); Mysore silk (Karnataka); Kullu shawl (Himachal Pradesh); Madurai Sungudi (Tamil Nadu); Kangra tea (Himachal Pradesh); Nanjanagud banana (Karnataka); Mysore sandalwood oil (Karnataka); Mysore sandal soap (Karnataka); Bidriware (Karnataka); Channapatna toys & dolls (Karnataka); Coimbatore wet grinder (Tamil Nadu); Mysore rosewood inlay (Karnataka); Kasuti embroidery (Karnataka); Mysore traditional paintings (Karnataka) and Orissa Ikat (Orissa).
A Geographical Indications Registry with all India jurisdiction operates in Chennai, as per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. Under the Act, agricultural, natural or manufactured goods originating or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in cases where such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of either production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, are registrable as Geographical Indications. Whether a particular product is registrable or not is determined by the Registrar of Geographical Indications, on receipt of the application.
Geographical Indications registration gives to the registered proprietor and its authorised users, the legal right to the exclusive use of the GI and also the right to obtain relief in case of its infringement. Exclusion of unauthorized persons from misusing GI would ensure that genuine products of the rightful producers are marketed.
source: http://www.orissadiary.com / Thursday Nov 09th, 2006Tags: Bidriware, Channapatna Toys and Dolls, Karnataka's Geographical Indication (GI) Registry, Kasuti Embroidery, Mysore Rosewood Inlay, Mysore Sandal Soap, Mysore Sandalwood Oil, Mysore Silk, Mysore Traditional Paintings, Nanjangud Banana
The 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC), the largest national science event with thousands of delegates participating, exploring, understanding, analyzing and interacting on matters of science, was announced by Prof.Geetha Bali, General President of 99 Indian Science Congress, at New Delhi. The highly prestigious Indian Science Congress (ISC) is scheduled to be organized from 03 – 07 January 2012 at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The industry meet was attended by captains of industry, policy makers in science & technology, senior scientists from R&D institutions and corporates.
As per tradition the Science Congress will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Manmohan Singh. The event is likely to be attended by around 10,000 participants including Nobel laureates and several eminent scientists from India and abroad, besides lakhs of students and general public.
The focal theme of 99th Indian Science Congress would be “Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation – Role of Women.” The Congress aims to salutes the transition displayed by women and their emergence as true epitomes of power and courage. Special emphasis will be laid on bridging the divide in our society using Science and Technology to achieve inclusive development – be it economic, geographical or gender based biases.
The 99th Indian Science Congress will have different sections and forums on Food & Nutrition, Rural Technology, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanotechnology, Agriculture, Green Building Technologies and Alternate Building Materials, Biodiversity, Biotechnology, Energy System, NBC Technologies for Armed Forces and Civilians, Environment & Forest, Medical Sciences, Climate Change, Space Science and Technology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Transportation, Maternal & Child Health Care, Water Management, Technologies for Differently Abled, Science Education for Women etc.
Announcing this significant event, Prof. Geetha Bali, General President, 99th Indian Science Congress, Vice chancellor Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur said, “From a humble beginning Indian Science Congress has today emerged as one of the most awaited events on the science and technology calendar across the globe. The event will witness participation from some of the brightest minds in the realm of science from across the globe.”
Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder KIIT remarked, “We are proud to host this prestigious and mega Science Congress that will provide us an opportunity to get insight into the most brilliant minds from across the globe. The entire team at KIIT is working towards making this event a huge success.”
Mr. Ravi Boratkar, MD MM Activ Sci – Tech Communications Pvt. Ltd., “Over the years ISC has emerged as a milestone event to promote the cause of science in India. The 99th Indian Science Congress will showcase cutting-edge technologies, leading scientific products and services, path breaking R&D initiatives and achievements of India’s foremost and leading public and private sector organizations, government departments, research labs, educational institutions and defence services.”
The five day event will comprise Technical Sessions, Plenary Sessions, Vision Talks, Panel Discussions, Vigyan Sancharak Sammelan, Public Lectures, Pride of India Expo, Children Science Congress, Women Science Congress, Genesis- XI Symposium, Cultural Programme, Valedictory Function and Vigyan Jyot.
There will be special pavilions like “World of Women” (Wow), “Edu Vision”, “Hall of Pride” (HoP) etc. WoW will be depicting women in science and science for women, whereas Edu Vision will showcase innovative models by leading educational institutions. HoP shall be a dedicated section designed to raise a toast to the life and works of a prominent scientist and philanthropist.
Concurrent to the 99th ISC, Genesis-XI, a one day symposium will also be organized. The theme will be “Role of Women in India’s March as an Emerging Economy – Science / Health / Education / Empowerment“. Genesis has emerged as an important forum where best of minds from Industry, Scientific Fraternity, Policy Makers and Academia come together on a common platform and delves on the issues related to science and technology of national importance.
Another attraction of Science Congress will be Vigyan Jyot (Flame of Knowledge), which aims to spread the message of science and associated benefits to billions of people in India. This time Vigyan Jyot will travel from Delhi to Bhubaneswar and will remain lit at the venue throughout the event.
source: http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/information-technology/2011082595868.htm / Aug 25th, 2011Tags: 99th Indian Science Congress, Bijapur, General Presiden, Karnataka State Women's University, Prof Geetha Bali, Professor Geetha Bali, Vice Chancellor