Personality Check – Adar Poonawalla – Sherral Joseph

Adar Poonawalla was recently included in ‘Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40’ listing in the healthcare category. He recently came into limelight when the Covishield vaccine which was developed by Astra Zeneca with Oxford University began to be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.  Mr Poonawalla became the CEO of SII in 2011, which was initially founded by his father, Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966.  In 2014 SII launched and initiated the Oral Polio vaccine which became the company’s bestseller.

The Institute is currently producing 50 million doses of Covishield a month and according to its CEO Adar Poonawalla, is aiming for a production of 100 million does a month after regulatory approval.

Adar Poonawalla has received several awards for his work in the health industry including the ‘Business Leader of the year’ award as part of the ET Edge Maharashtra Achievers Awards

india · Innovation · Padma Shri

Sridhar Vembu – Founder of Zoho and recipient of the Padma Shri award by Sherral Joseph

Innovation Check

Sridhar Vembu social entrepreneur noted for introducing software and product development functions from Urban centers to rural villages in India.  His company Zoho became popular after setting up offices in rural districts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.   In 2004, the company further went ahead to establish educational institutions to provide vocational software development education to rural students as an alternative to formal university education.  The company takes pride in the fact that 15% to 20% of their engineers have received vocational education from Zoho schools with no college degree.  In 2020, the company made a landmark move when they announced the setup of a ‘rural school startup’ which focused on free primary education.

Sridhar Vembu’s Alma mater is Princeton University in New Jersey, having secured his MS and PhD from there. His decision to move from Bay Area to Mathalamparai is historical and has been lauded by many, winning him many awards for his iconic work in the field of education.  In 2019, Vembu was conferred with the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award’’ in India.  Recently in 2021, he became the recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor.

His amazing business instinct and acumen helped him to identify the right focus area to apply his knowledge, skills and innovative ideas.  His legacy in education in the rural areas will live on for years to come. We hope that India will witness more social entrepreneurs of this calibre.

india · lockdown

Silence. Deafening silence. by Darshini Shah

March 22nd, 2020. A historic day. An uncertain fate. A year which began with prayers for China, Italy and France saw the borders closing worldwide. While the fear increased amongst the countrymen about an uncertain future, a Janta curfew was announced. 8 p.m on the day of the curfew changed everything. The initial days were… Continue reading Silence. Deafening silence. by Darshini Shah

india · Innovation · SpaceX · Tesla

Personality Check – Elon Musk by Sherral Joseph

He was raised in Pretoria, Africa, born to a South African father and Canadian mother.   He dropped out of Standford University after two days to pursue a business career.   It was very early in his career that he founded X.com, an online bank which merged with Confinity in 2000.  This company had launched… Continue reading Personality Check – Elon Musk by Sherral Joseph

Cricket · india

Historic win from India and what we can learn from it- by Sherral Joseph

 Before I continue, I must tell you that I don’t watch cricket.  But like the rest of the world, I’ve learned something from the victory today. I just watched Thangarasu Natrajan in an interview post his win. On being questioned about the bowling, he just laughed and said ‘I didn’t see it coming the first… Continue reading Historic win from India and what we can learn from it- by Sherral Joseph

Bharat Biiotech · COVID 19 · india · Innovation · Science and Technology · Serum Institute of India · Vaccinations

The World’s largest vaccination drive by Sherral Joseph

Tomorrow is a big day for India, as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will launch the pan-India rollout of 2 COVID 19  vaccines Covaxin and Covishield,  as they get formally approved for  what could be the world’s largest vaccination drive.  The launch will be held at 10.30 am virtually by the Prime Minister and will be… Continue reading The World’s largest vaccination drive by Sherral Joseph


The Agricultural Revolution of India written by Sangharsh Kale

Farming and allied industries are the backbone of India’s economy. In modernizing agricultural practices, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a key role in achieving the objective of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022. Agriculture is also listed by India’s national AI strategy as one of the main   areas where AI can enable growth and greater inclusion. AI-enabled farming solutions help farmers improve crop productivity, monitor soil health, optimize the management  of pests and weeds, manage irrigation, and help farmers to pay the best price. In line with the aspirations of the country, the Confederation of Indian  Industry (CII) is working to grow the agricultural sector. A main focus area  is  upgrading the technology quotient in agriculture. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare  Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar announced onNovember 6, 2020 that the Centre would soon  launch a ‘price information and market intelligence system’ powered by AI that will enable farmers to find out the latest prices of different farm products in markets across the nation. He said while announcing the plan, “We are developing a price mechanism. Through this process, even a person sitting in Badaun will know the prices prevailing in Kolkata market every day in the morning. This scheme is being built and very soon it will be launched.” Several start-ups are now also committed to maintaining the agricultural sector through the AI system.  In Andhra Pradesh, a company is using AI to power a sowing app, leading to a higher crop yield per hectare. In addition, AI algorithms are being used to monitor crop… Continue reading The Agricultural Revolution of India written by Sangharsh Kale

off beat

Foot-binding in China by Rajesh Ravindranath

Foot-binding was a painful and permanent ritual custom of restricting young girls feet as small as possible from a normal growth. This custom was extensively used as a status symbol among the elite to improve their social prospects. It was believed a woman’s attractiveness and elegance would enhance with bound feet. Largely, it was practiced by the… Continue reading Foot-binding in China by Rajesh Ravindranath

Innovation · Policy · Science and Technology

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020

A landmark policy initiative written by Chayan Sen A landmark policy initiative, ‘Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020’ (STIP 2020) has been initiated.  The recent advancements in the global and national STI landscape, STIP 2020 aims to reorient STI efforts in terms of priorities, sectoral focus, and strategies. It aims to revisit and re-energize the way research is conducted; technologies developed and… Continue reading Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020