The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 71-80https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others-do-not-use/the-most-powerful-indians-in-2012-no-7180/

The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 71-80

Bhartia has been the moving force behind the undiminished sway of the media group over the country.

71. Shobhana Bhartia,53

Chairperson,Hindustan Times Group

Rank ’11: 77

WHY

Bhartia has been the moving force behind the undiminished sway of the media group over the country. The Group’s three largest publications,Hindustan Times,Hindustan and Mint,together command a readership of more than16 million. Even as rival The Times of India continues to be the largest read English newspaper in the country,it has not been able to dent Hindustan Times’ leadership in Delhi.

POWER PUNCH

Hindustan Times consolidated its position as the No. 2 newspaper in the competitive market of Mumbai last year while registering a growth in its readership. Mint also completed six years as the unchallenged No. 2 player in the business news space while Hindustan launched several new editions in the tough market of Uttar Pradesh.

WHAT NEXT

While rival Bennett,Coleman may be hoisting flags in new territories down south,the HT Group is happy consolidating its position in the north. Penetrating deeper into the Hindi market,both organically and inorganically,is high on Bhartia’s agenda. She is also open to a meaningful opportunity in broadcast.

BY THE WAY

She is a fitness enthusiast.


72. Uday Shankar,49

Chief Executive Officer,STAR India

Rank ’11: 85

WHY

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He makes it to the list because under his stewardship most channels of Star India have achieved leadership positions in their respective genres. After he took over as CEO in 2009,the flagship channel,Star Plus,not only reclaimed its number one slot in the Hindi entertainment space but continues to lead the pack. Shankar has taken initiatives for the formation of a broadcast redressal forum,BCCC,and continues to drive industry issues with policymakers. For his leadership,Shankar was declared the mediaperson of 2010 by the industry.

POWER PUNCH

When he talks,his boss,Rupert Murdoch,really listens.

WHAT NEXT

Wants to drive digitisation of cable distribution,taking the industry in his stride. Regional markets remain a focus area for him.

BY THE WAY

He enjoys cooking Indian food. He loves experimenting so much that he never repeats a dish.


73. Arun Shourie,70

Journalist-writer

Rank ’11: 86

WHY

He remains the most argumentative conscience-keeper of the nation.

When the journalist-politician-writer speaks,everyone else,the government included,is forced to listen. No one wants to be on the wrong side of a debate involving him.

POWER PUNCH

His role in the 2G allocation,during his time as the telecom minister in the NDA regime,was being questioned. He offered to appear before the CBI,answered its queries and came out clean in the SC verdict in the case. Before that,he had attacked the Prime Minister directly,saying documents proved that Manmohan Singh knew about the developments when the 2G scam was unfolding.

 

WHAT NEXT

Having dissociated himself from the BJP,Shourie will get back to what he does best—writing books. Expect more fire and iconoclasm. His next book is due in a couple of months.

BY THE WAY

The prolific writer’s next book is an ‘expanded’ edition of Falling Over Backwards,which he had written in 2006,arguing against the reservation policy and judicial populism.


74. Omar Abdullah,41

Chief Minister,J&K

Rank ’11: 87

WHY

Having completed three years in office,Omar seems to be finally coming to grips with a difficult job. The clear message from the Congress high command to his detractors in the J&K unit of the Congress that he would remain the Chief Minister for the full six year-term has consolidated his position. What also helps is his close contact with the Gandhi family,especially Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. His tweets are constantly picked up by news channels.

POWER PUNCH

When power supply was hit recently,Omar was seen supervising the restoration work,earning praise from residents of Kashmir. His stand on bringing some peaceful areas of the state out of the purview of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has also helped him politically.

WHAT NEXT

The implementation of the recommendations of interlocutors will be a tough task. He needs to build bridges with party veterans.

BY THE WAY

The digital divide between him and his ministers showed when one of them thought he was fiddling with his gadgets when he was actually taking down notes on his tablet.


75. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,55

Spiritual leader

Rank ’11: 93

WHY

Founder of the Art of Living Foundation is a guru of the urban middle and upper class. Sri Sri lords over a vast empire of ashrams and retreats that spans continents. Last year,he hitched this empire to the anti-corruption bandwagon.

POWER PUNCH

Helped by a formidable PR machinery,he packaged himself as the ‘detached’ mediator in the polarising debates around corruption. Blending diplomacy and tact,he shared

the stage with both Baba Ramdev and Team Anna marking out a space for himself in the process.

WHAT NEXT

He plans to use Art of Living as a tool to effectively intervene in public policy debates and yet try and maintain his ‘apolitical’ stand. That will be a challenge given the BJP sympathisers in his ranks and the political establishment’s wariness of civil society post-Anna.

BY THE WAY

He once featured in the MTV programme ‘Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory’ where he tried to help pro skateboarder Dyrdek attain true happiness.


76. Uday Kotak,52

Managing Director,Kotak Mahindra Bank

Rank ’11: 83

WHY

Like Nimesh Kampani,Vallabh Bhansali and Hemendra Kothari,Uday Kotak too went on to start a bank; but unlike these three,he did not have to sell his business. Under his leadership,Kotak Group has completed 25 years of growth. Heading one of the youngest banks in the country that got its banking licence in 2003,Kotak has transformed the group from being heavily dependent on capital markets into a more balanced business where banking now contributes heavily. He is respected for being the most unobtrusive owner of a newspaper,Business Standard.

POWER PUNCH

Kotak Mahindra is the first and only NBFC to become a bank. Uday Kotak is also the first billionaire banker in the country and is the only banker in the Forbes India top 20 rich list of 2011 with a net worth of $3.6 billion.

WHAT NEXT

Already expanding the bank’s reach,Kotak is determined to grow it through domestic and international acquisitions.

BY THE WAY

A big fan of Steve Jobs and Apple products.


77. Aditya Puri,58

MD & CEO,HDFC Bank

New on the list

WHY

HDFC Bank emerged in 2011 as the largest private sector bank in the country,surpassing ICICI Bank. Harvard Business Review recently ranked the bank among the 10 companies in the world that have managed to grow their net income

by 5 per cent every year between 1999 and 2009.

POWER PUNCH

MD of the bank since 1994,he has been able to maintain stability at the top which,many say,is the reason behind the bank’s success.

WHAT NEXT

He wants to make 10 crore families financially independent by providing them loans for small businesses at rates better than microfinance organisations. Viable financing for projects is high on his agenda.

BY THE WAY

Even though he runs one of the most tech-savvy banks in the country,Puri does not carry a cellphone.


78. E Sreedharan,79

Former MD of Delhi Metro

Rank ’11: 57

WHY

Sreedharan continues to carry clout even after completing his term at Delhi Metro. He is still in demand. Cities such as Kochi and Jaipur want his expertise to set up their own metro rail services.

POWER PUNCH

Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy dropped plans to invite global tenders for the Kochi Metro project and decided to go with DMRC because Sreedharan had insisted he would work only with his DMRC team. ‘‘If Sreedharan is with DMRC,Kochi Metro is for DMRC,’’ Chandy declared. The project is awaiting the Centre’s nod.

WHAT NEXT

If the Kochi Metro eventually goes to DMRC,Sreedharan will play a pivotal role in executing the project.

BY THE WAY

The chair that he used for over 50 years in all offices he had been will now be an exhibit in the Metro Museum.


79. Shivshankar Menon,62

National Security Advisor

Rank ’11: 33

WHY

Two years into the job,he has clearly emerged as the foreign policy czar of the UPA-II regime. Was a key factor behind the PM’s impromptu invitation to Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani to attend the Mohali cricket match,an event that led to a crucial thaw in Indo-Pakistan relations. Though he was not able to persuade West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on the Teesta water-sharing deal with Bangladesh,his stock didn’t suffer.

POWER PUNCH

Brokered the way for creating a National Counter Terrorism Centre. He was able to bring the Special Representative-level talks on border issues with China back on track,within a short time after its cancellation. Also made the friendly gesture of going to the Chinese embassy in Delhi and delivering a lecture on the bilateral relationship,which was reciprocated by his counterpart,Dai Bingguo,in Beijing.

WHAT NEXT

How his chemistry with the new dispensation in the Prime Minister’s Office,under Principal Secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji,plays out will be a test of his clout.

BY THE WAY

He is the most fluent speaker of Mandarin in India’s foreign policy set-up but insists on speaking in English during talks with Chinese delegations.


80. Aveek Sarkar,67

Chief Editor,ABP Group

Rank ’11: 79

WHY

Anandabazar Patrika continues to lead in Kolkata,and Fortune India,part of a licencee agreement between ABP and Time Inc,has emerged as a credible magazine. According to the Indian Readership Survey (IRS Q3 2011),The Telegraph maintains a strong fourth position among English dailies. The Group has a majority stake in Star News.

It also has Star Ananda,a Bengali news channel and Star Majha,a Marathi news channel,in its portfolio.

POWER PUNCH

Mamata Banerjee,whom the Group backed aggressively,is in control at Writers’ Buildings .

WHAT NEXT

The Group announced its plan to launch the Indian edition of The Spectator.

BY THE WAY

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He is passionate about art and has a large collection of works from the Bengal school of art and the Raj era.