The most powerful indians in 2009: 85-90

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty,Purno Agitok Sangma,Yash Chopra & Aditya Chopra,Ramesh Chandra Agarwal,Jean Dreze & Arundhati Roy

Written by Express News Service | Published:March 9, 2009 5:45 pm

85. Dr Devi Prasad Shetty,52
Founder,Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals
Why
The story goes that when he was at Birla Hospital in Kolkata in the early 1990s,people considered him a deity. Dr Devi Prasad Shetty knew there was a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid long before it became fashionable to build businesses around the poor.
Power punch
In 2003,he joined hands with the government of Karnataka to launch a Yeshaswini health insurance scheme for 16 lakh poor farmers in the state at a premium of Rs 5 per month.
What next
He is now building health city projects on a mass scale across major Indian cities in an effort to make the healthcare business viable. He also has invitations from Pakistan,Tanzania,Ethiopia,Mexico and other developing parts of the world to replicate programmes for the poor.

86. Purno Agitok Sangma,62
Former Lok Sabha Speaker
Why
The first Lok Sabha speaker to be elected from the Opposition in 1996,he was also the first tribal to become a Cabinet minister. His rise,from an obscure village on the Indo-Bangladesh border,began with a deputy minister’s post under Indira Gandhi in 1980.
Power punch
He split the Congress,with Sharad Pawar’s help,to form the NCP in 1999. In the last assembly elections in Meghalaya (2008),he not only quit the Lok Sabha to return to state politics and install a non-Congress government in the state,but also got himself elected to the assembly—his two sons are MLAs too. His daughter Agatha filled the Lok Sabha vacancy that he created.
What next
He does not look inclined to return to national politics,but he has kept his doors open.

87. Yash Chopra ,76 & Aditya Chopra,37
Filmmakers
Why
When Walt Disney decided to make a foray into Bollywood,it turned to Yash Raj Films and Roadside Romeo happened. It is said that Aditya Chopra got Shah Rukh Khan on one phone call for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. “I never ask them for a script or money. The Chopras give me blank cheques,” says Shah Rukh. The film has grossed Rs 180 crore worldwide and has become the highest-grossing film starring Shah Rukh.
Power punch
Aditya got Shah Rukh to do the promotion for Rab Ne… He also got Kajol,Rani Mukerji,Bipasha Basu,Preity Zinta and Lara Dutta to shake a leg with Shah Rukh.
What next
There’s a film with Rani playing a girl smitten by cricket,then there is Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh: Salesman Of The Year and the Priyanka Chopra-Uday Chopra starrer Pyaar Impossible.

88. Ramesh Chandra Agarwal,64
Chairman,Dainik Bhaskar Group
Why
With 42 editions in 11 states,he wields massive clout that seems to be growing as his group diversifies into other businesses. The paper began with a single edition in Bhopal in 1958. Now the Dainik Bhaskar group has branched out into areas like FM radio stations,real estate,textiles and power projects.
Power punch
The group entered Jaipur in 1996 and broke the monopoly of Rajasthan Patrika in no time. The phenomenal success in Rajasthan made the group confident enough to explore similar monopoly markets in other states. Last year,the group boasted of a turnover of nearly Rs 3,000 crore.
What next
Agarwal will look at expanding and consolidating his business and take more steps to modernise the Hindi media.

89 Jean Dreze,50
Development Economist
Why
He has worked on hunger,child nutrition,education,rural employment and freedom of information,also collaborating with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen,and combining academic rigour with rare and extensive fieldwork. But,more than that,he has helped bring these issues into policy and media focus.
Power punch
He played a key role in drafting the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) legislation in 2005,guaranteeing 100 days of employment in every financial year to adult members of rural households.
What next
He is visiting professor at the GB Pant Social Science Institute,Allahabad. As part of the governing council of NREGA,he is constantly monitoring and refining the implementation of the NREGA.

90. Arundhati Roy,47
Author,Activist
Why
She might have written the one novel,The God of Small Things,but Arundhati Roy is the Voice of Dissent in literary India. From India’s nuclear policy to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq,from globalisation to big dams,she has spoken out against the establishment. The first Indian woman to win the Man Booker Prize,she was also named for the Sahitya Akademi Award for her collection of essays,The Algebra of Infinite Justice,but refused the award “in protest against the Indian government toeing the US line”.
Power punch
In 2002,when she was convicted for contempt of court by the Supreme Court and sentenced to symbolic imprisonment for a day,activists shouted slogans outside the courtroom,demanding “justice”.
What next
In February 2007,Roy announced she was planning a new novel but did not know what it would be about.

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