The most powerful Indians in 2013: No. 41-50

Indian Express: The most powerful Indians in 2013

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2013 6:46 pm

41

Omita Paul, 63

Secretary to the President

New On The List

Why

An Indian Information Service officer of the 1973 batch,Omita Paul has risen to become one of the country’s most powerful bureaucrats,despite her not belonging to the IAS. Reason: she has more than a three-decade-long association with Pranab Mukherjee. She has trailed him in almost every official position he has held.

Power Punch

Many thought Pranab Mukherjee would not appoint her as his secretary,given the ceremonial nature of the office,but the choice was a foregone conclusion.

What Next

After refurbishing Rashtrapati Bhavan,she will give a makeover to the three Presidential retreats.

By The Way

She recently started carrying a mobile for the first time.

42

Deepak Parekh, 68

Chairman,HDFC

Rank ’12: 42

WHY

He has become an institution. He is consulted on most policy changes. On the boards of several important government panels,he continues to be the favourite troubleshooter of both the government and the industry. In October,a panel headed by Parekh submitted an interim report to the PM suggesting ways

to attract Rs 51.46 lakh crore needed for funding infrastructure. He is a great raconteur of corporate/finance world.

POWER PUNCH

He is very vocal about the ill-effects of administrative drift. Last year,he flayed the government for what he termed its “governance deficit”.

WHAT NEXT

A flag-bearer of India Inc for long,he may take up a role in government.

BY THE WAY

He never misses Warren Buffet’s annual speech to shareholders.

43

Arnab Goswami, 44

Editor-in-chief,Times Now

New on the list

Why

More than the 9 pm discussion he moderates on his news channel,it is his unique style of anchoring (read hectoring) which has made him a brand,forcing others to play catch-up.

Power Punch

He has fashioned himself as the saviour of Indian democracy and has appointed himself the representative of urban Indians. He always occupies a high moral ground and it is difficult for his guests to escape the poser: “The nation wants to know”.

What Next

Times Now has had five straight years as the number one English news channel. He would try to keep the lead.

By The Way

He loves to lecture young reporters on what makes a good journalist.

44

Raj Thackeray,44

President,Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

Rank ’12: 58

Why

Articulate and charismatic,he is a big draw for Marathi youth and women in Mumbai.

Power Punch

His party had a respectable showing in the civic polls of Maharashtra last year.

What Next

With Uddhav managing to stay afloat,Raj has to find a way forward and project his party as more than a pressure group.

Oops moment

After the Delhi gang rape,he said,“Everyone’s talking about the gang rape,but nobody is asking where these men came from…the fact that all these rapists are from Bihar.”

By The Way

A movie buff,he watches one a day. He is particularly fond of Walt Disney movies.

45

Kumar Mangalam Birla,46

Chairman,Aditya Birla Group

Rank ’12: 62

WHY

Even with the economic downslide,he is aiming at $65 billion revenue by 2015. Venturing into media,he picked up 27.5 per cent stake in Living Media. He is the 10th richest Indian on the Forbes list.

POWER PUNCH

His group has reportedly made an offer to acquire Australian miner Northern Iron. There are rumours that the group is in talks to buy Jaiprakash Gaur’s cement business.

WHAT NEXT

He is ramping up food retail and plans to invest Rs 400 crore in two years in hypermarkets.

BY THE WAY

He and Mukesh Ambani are neighbours on Altamount Road in Mumbai,possibly the highest net-worth road in the city.

46

B S Yeddyurappa, 70

Chief,Karnataka Janata Paksha

New on the list

Why

The former BJP chief minister and a prominent leader of the Lingayats,the largest caste community in Karnataka,he will be the man to watch in an election year in the state.

Power Punch

He left the BJP government hanging by a thread when he broke away along with his supporters.

What Next

He will determine the fortunes of the Congress and BJP in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka,especially in the northern Lingayat-dominated districts.

By the way

While his anticipatory bail petition in a corruption case was being heard a few months ago,he took time out to watch the Hindi film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

47

Pulok Chatterji, 61

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister

Rank ’12: 11

Why

He enjoys the confidence of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Power Punch

He cracked the whip on all the ministries to ensure that the direct transfer of benefits scheme,a crucial drive of the government heading into the general elections,was launched on the scheduled date despite some of them expressing reservations.

What Next

His monitoring would be key to the implementation of the spate of welfare programmes being launched by the government.

By the Way

He is probably the first principal secretary who issues instructions on e-mail as well.

48

U K Sinha, 60

Chairman,Sebi

Rank ’12: 41

WHY

He takes bold decisions but maintains a low profile. He is respected by his peers as well as the investor community,given his vast experience from previous stints as the chairman of UTI AMC and the joint secretary,capital markets,in the Finance Ministry.

POWER PUNCH

His order against the Sahara Group over fund-raising activities by its two entities,which was challenged in the Supreme Court,has earned him praise for a determined approach and pro-investor stance.

WHAT NEXT

With the government trying to attract foreign investors,a report on foreign investment submitted by Sinha in 2010 is back in focus.

BY THE WAY

An IAS officer from the Bihar cadre,he was twice DM in the region that features in Gangs of Wasseypur and says the filmmakers got it about 50 per cent right.

49

Shivshankar Menon, 63

National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister

Rank ’12: 79

Why

Apart from heading the important security position,he also advises the PM on foreign policy. He has handled challenges on Maldives and Pakistan through the year.

Power Punch

When tempers were running high in the defence forces over the beheading of Indian soldiers at the Line of Control,he spoke to the Army top brass and the diplomats to calm down the situation. Within weeks,near-normalcy was restored at the LoC.

What Next

He has to keep relations with neighbours—many of them facing elections this year—on an even keel.

By The Way

He can speak Chinese and German fluently.

50

Cyrus Mistry, 44

Chairman,Tata Sons Ltd

Rank ’12: 30

WHY

At a relatively young age,he is the chairman of the Tata Group,the largest Indian business conglomerate,which had a total revenue of over $100 bn in 2011-12 and employs over 4,50,000 people across the world.

POWER PUNCH

BrandFinance has ranked the Tata Group 39th among the world’s top brands. Said Business School of Oxford University talks of the Tata Trust as a corporate paradigm for companies across the globe.

WHAT NEXT

With Ratan Tata advising him to be his own man,Mistry is being watched keenly for the strategy he adopts to take the group to the next level. To start with,he has to tackle the high debt at Tata Steel and the problems various projects face at Tata Power.

BY THE WAY

He drives to work in a Tata Manza.

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