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Lifetime Achievement: Mr Nitin Gadkari Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport & Highways & Shipping

He has been a harbinger of change for India’s roads and infrastructure sector. The credit to put India on to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) path squarely goes to Nitin Gadkari, who also gave birth to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model. With his hands on the pulse of the infrastructure economy, he introduced the Hybrid Annuity Model to bail out the ailing sector–a move that has put it on the fast track once all over again. He is now Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & Shipping.

Innovator and an indefatigable hard-task master with a farsighted vision, Gadkari is leading Sagarmala–the port-led development project and Bharatmala–creating a web of highways enhancing inland connectivity with a promise, not only to spur economic activity but also help create over 2 crore jobs. His efforts have proved that roads and highways are a GDP multiplier that lead to heightened economic activity resulting in inclusive growth.

Due to his efforts, India will soon achieve the landmark of 40 km road construction a day - up from mere 2, a few years ago. On the humane side, he has been passionately serving the community having organised more than half a million medical check-ups, thousands of cataract operations, cancer treatments and distributed eyeglasses to the poor.

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Contributions to Reforms: Mr Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation

Suresh Prabhu is a steady reformer that the nation needs. During the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he was the architect of the Indian power sector reforms. His Electricity Act, 2003 opened significant opportunities for the private players. As Minister of Railways under the Narendra Modi Government, he presented a pragmatic budget doing away with populism and started reform process for IRCTC and catering services.

He also oversaw the scrapping of the Rail Budget putting an end to a populist 92-year old exercise that resulted in stress for the railways due to attached populism.

He has led India as the Sherpa of G20 summits presenting nation’s progress and highlighting its achievements on the international stage. As the Minister for Commerce and Industry, he has overseen serious reforms in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ as India’s rank jumped 23 places to 77, among 190 countries surveyed, in World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 survey. With his impressive performance, India became the only country to rank among the Top-10 improvers for the second consecutive year and is now within striking distance of breaking into to the Top-50. A reformer and a thinker – Suresh Prabhu is a person who works on policy and not on politics.

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Economics: Dr Ila Patnaik Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Ila Patnaik is a Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). As the Principal Economic Advisor to the Government of India, Ila had overseen the preparation of the first economic survey brought out by the Narendra Modi government. She has served on various working groups and task forces of the Ministry of Finance, such as those on taxation of financial products, and those to create agencies, including the independent Public Debt Management Agency, the Resolution Corporation and the Financial Data Management Centre. She used to present a popular show on NDTV, ‘Policy With Patnaik’, and is a regular columnist at the Indian Express. Her research interests include monetary and macroeconomics, banking and finance and emerging economy business cycles. Ila is a free-markets proponent and is well-versed with the complexities of government functioning and the political economy. She has long argued for governance reforms needed at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has a well-defined position on India’s exchange rate policy and has been emphasising that we must realise that India needs a strategy and a road-map for getting government out of banking.

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Economics: Dr Rathin Roy Part-time Member, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India & Director, NIPFP

Rathin Roy is a rare policy economist with solid credentials. He blends a command of macroeconomics with a deep understanding of inclusive development acquired over the years in various capacities at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Rathin has worked across 80 countries, including as an Economic Diplomat in London, New York, Kathmandu, Brasilla and Bangkok. He is the foremost expert in the country at present on public finance—of the centre and states—having served as the Economic Advisor to the Thirteenth Finance Commission and part-member of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. He was a member on the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India, NITI Aayog.

He took charge as Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), New Delhi in May 2013; is currently a part-time Member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Economic Advisory Council and Member, Board of Governors, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Rathin’s writings are a testimony to his consistent and incomparable record of speaking truth to power and remaining focussed on issues and solutions by breaking down complex economic issues in easy-to-grasp advice.

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Swadeshi Economics: Dr Ashwani Mahajan National Co-Convener, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch

Writer and author, Ashwani Mahajan is the National Co-Convener of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). An Associate Professor at University of Delhi, Ashwini is also a Visiting Professor and research guide at Pacific University, Udaipur and Mewar University. He has represented SJM at ministerial conferences of World Trade Organization (WTO) held at Geneva, Bali and Nairobi. Besides the WTO, his interests include other international trade agreements. Ashwini is a proponent of protectionism for Indian industry and was opposed to the Narendra Modi government’s ordinance for amendments to the land acquisition law. He is also opposed to genetically modified seeds and foreign direct investment, especially in retail trade and e-Commerce.

Being a nationalist, he is an advocate of relaxation in capital adequacy cover for public sector banks and wants ownership of private banks to remain in Indian hands. He would like the Reserve bank of India to follow a policy of keeping the rupee-dollar exchange rate appreciated through market interventions.

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Parliamentarian of the Year: Mr Deepender Singh Hooda Hon’ble Member, Lok Sabha

A politician who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2005 at the young age of 27, Deepender Singh Hooda has seen and done it all. Hooda, an engineering graduate and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business, comes to politics with a diverse corporate experience in both India and abroad which gives him the edge and the worldview to address the growing challenges of India today. A third-generation Parliamentarian, Hooda belongs to a lineage that helped draft India’s Constitution. In the Parliament, he has been entrusted with the responsibility of being the Whip in Lok Sabha and also works as a special invitee member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). With his vast experience and insight, he has contributed immensely to areas such as agriculture, energy, economic growth and employment to in his constituency as well as at the national level.

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Conserving History: Ms Kishwar Desai Author and Columnist

It is often said that people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots and there’s no one else better than Kishwar Desai to illustrate the importance of history. As the Chair of The Arts And Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT) she has played a phenomenal role in setting up the world’s first Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar, Punjab, India. She started her career as a print journalist and moved on television soon after and worked as an anchor, producer and head of a TV channel too with major networks.

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Promoting Brand India - Contemporary Cuisine: Mr Rohit Khattar Chairman, Old World Hospitality Pvt Ltd

Brand India needs new role models who are dynamic, passionate and come with a proven track record, Rohit Khattar more than fits the bill. A creative entrepreneur with interests in hospitality and entertainment, his company Old World Hospitality is India’s largest live entertainment company and operates India’s most comprehensive performing arts and convention center, Habitat World, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. His company operates 2 hotels and over 30 restaurants, which have won accolades all around the globe since its foundation in 1990. His restaurant Indian Accent, is the only restaurant from India on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list with outposts in New York & London. Khattar was featured amongst ‘The Big 10 of the F&B industry’ and amongst ‘The 99 Superstars who Changed our Lives Across India’ by Time Out. When it comes to taking Brand India forward and contemporary cuisine, Khattar stands out as a phenomenal performer and a doer.

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Hospitality: Mr Ramesh Arora Managing Director, Montcalm Hotels

A hotelier with more than four decades of experience and one on the bleeding edge of transformation in the hotel industry, Ramesh Arora has changed the game with the largest privately owned hotel group in London. He was honoured with the NRI Foundation Excellence Award by Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Government of India. Arora took advantage of early online booking trend due to his forward thinking and strong belief in technology. Arora’s Montcalm Hotels have become a favourite place for leisure travellers from around the world even as the luxury brand provides unforgettable experiences with a touch of Indian hospitality on the side. Working on ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ doctrine, these hotels let their customers experience India’s hospitality side with all the modern luxuries and amenities bringing praise not only to the group but to the country as well.

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Health: Dr Rakesh Kumar Additional Country Director, UNDP & Former Joint Secretary Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

A 1992 batch IAS officer, Rakesh Kumar is a public health advocate who has significant experience in improving governance and accountability systems for policy reforms and an active member of various policy think-tanks and institutions. As the Country Director for UNDP India, he leads policy support to Government of India and several state governments on sustainable development. He has also led the world’s largest reproductive maternal health programme at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Kumar’s work has also spanned areas such as education, district health planning and child health programmes.

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Empowerment: Baroness Sandip Verma Member, House of Lords, United Kingdom

Poise, power and accountability – these are the virtues which characterise Baroness Sandip Verma well. As a member of House of Lords in the United Kingdom, she has held a dignified stance on many issues. Recently appointed as the new Chair for UN Women National Committee UK, Baroness Verma has been praised for her extensive experience in promoting women’s rights and her passion to achieve equality for women in an unequal world. When it comes to women empowerment, it’s hard to find a role model better than Baroness Verma. She has also been a Ministerial Champion for tackling Violence Against Women & Girls Overseas, a role that she has held since May 2015 during which she worked a lot for women’s rights and against abuse that has made her a strong champion for women’s rights on the global stage.