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Markets and Corporate Governance: M Damodaran, Chairman, Excellence Enablers and Former Chairman: Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Unit Trust of India (UTI) and Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI)

Fiesty and Fearless! A Change Agent! A Challenger to Challenges! These are but a few ways to describe M Damodaran, Chairman, Excellence Enablers and former Chairman of SEBI, UTI and IDBI. An upholder of corporate governance through his career, he helped restore UTI’s credibility and the faith of millions of unit-holders and brought IDBI back from the brink. Uniquely, he has had a ringside view of both banking and financial markets.

Damodaran made a critical difference to a relatively young regulatory agency in leadership on enforcement, tackling violations and making local market a safer place for investors. The Indian securities market can now boast of a trading, clearing and settlement mechanism that is one of the best in the world. He is also credited with introduction of improved practices and corporate governance standards in Indian securities market.

His pioneering role in promoting corporate governance in India invests Excellence Enablers with an experience-based leadership role in corporate governance advisory work. Successive governments and corporates alike have relied on him, leveraging his expertise.

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Financial Inclusion: Deepali Pant Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, SKOCH Development Foundation and Former Executive Director, RBI

As a development economist, Deepali Pant Joshi, PhD, has dedicated her career to the cause of financial inclusion. As RBI’s Executive Director, she was associated with policy in the area of rural credit and consumer protection working for strengthening grassroots level institutions and gender equity. Poverty alleviation, microfinance for macro change and sustainable financial inclusion have remained closest to her heart.

A firm believer in demand side and supply, she is of the view that wider financial inclusion is the result of greater customer empowerment led by financial literacy. Bringing focus on strengthening credit absorption capacities, leveraging IT, collaboration of central, state governments, banks, insurance and intermediaries towards achievement of financial inclusion objectives, have been her forte.

Deepali has to her credit a blueprint to combat poverty, highlighting the critical role of banks and financial institutions. She was the RBI nominee on the G-20 Committee on Financial Inclusion and continues to bring academic rigor and objectivity in search of questions and offers carefully thought out answers.

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Contributions to Economy: Rakesh Mohan, Former Deputy Governor, RBI

Rakesh Mohan was a key player in the P V Narasimha Rao government’s liberalisation reforms. It was his efforts and perseverance as the Economic Adviser in the Industry Ministry and as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Rao, that resulted in industrial, trade and foreign investment policies reform of the 1990s.

As chair of the National Transport Development Policy Committee in 2017, he recommended setting up of Railway Development Authority (RDA), which apart from recommending passenger fares and freight charges, will regulate the sector that will be opened to private players.

His second stint as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) coincided with India’s remarkable handling of the global financial crisis.

He is a member of the panel headed by the former Governor Bimal Jalan to review the Economic Capital Framework for the RBI, constituted in 2018, which will have long-term implications for the central government’s non-tax revenue position on the one hand and on the other, the RBI’s ability to step in to cover systemic risks.

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Contributions to Markets: U K Sinha, Former Chairman, SEBI

Indian capital markets never had it better than when U K Sinha was at the helm of the corner office at SEBI. His tenure as Chairman, SEBI is marked by the wide ranging market reforms. He ensured that the regulator shifts its focus from surveillance to supervisory. In regulatory changes, his tenure at SEBI saw the strengthening of insider trading rules, listing and delisting norms and a widened definition of an insider.

The market regulator, which had become a beehive of activity under his leadership, expanded its territory as a market developer, reworked and re-examined the SEBI Act to effect more than 50 amendments—a bold and unprecedented move that added dynamism to the regulator—cleaned up the primary markets and opened the Institutional Trading Platform (ITP) for listing of SMEs. The SME success story in the Indian market today is reflective of the regulatory support—all Sinha’s doing. He is also credited with allowing Real Estate Investment Trusts, Infrastructure Investment Trusts and municipal bonds.

Given his commitment and passion to see the SMEs grow, he is now heading a committee constituted by RBI to making suggestions for long-term solutions for economic and financial stability of the sector.

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Contributions to e-Governance in Education: Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India

Narendra Modi Government seeks to transform the education system in a bid to achieve the vision of New India.
The crucial task to spearhead this transformation has been put on the shoulders of Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.

In a short span, Pokhriyal has laid a solid base to lead this transformation. He has pushed for extensive use of e-Governance in education. The initiatives include online Teacher-Pupil registration system to enable online certification of teacher education courses. Project Shagun introduced by him seeks to create a junction—a digital repository—for all online portals and websites relating to all activities of the Department of School Education and Literacy, states and Union Territories.

UDISE+ captures timely, real-time and accurate data to enable effective planning and decision-making covering 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children. Performance Grading Index (PGI) is another transformative measure to provide insights on the status of school education and assess learning outcomes. Pre-vocational curriculum takes care of primary level education to make the future generation job ready.