Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at Isha Insight 2022

Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon’ble Union Jal Shakti Minister, addressed the 3rd day of the 11th edition of Isha Leadership Academy’s flagship program – “Isha Insight: The DNA of Success” at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore on Saturday. 

In conversation with Sadhguru, Founder – Isha Foundation, Shri Shekhawat expanded on the ambitious goal of the Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections to all households in rural India by 2024.

“India’s estimated investment in the water sector from 2019 to 2024 at $210 billion is the highest in the world,” said Shri Shekhawat, adding managing water is our collective responsibility and we will all have to work together in this direction. 

Appreciating the model of implementation of the Jal Shakti Mission, Sadhguru said, “I think the best part of the mission is – it is community-managed. It is government-installed but community-managed. I think that is a way forward for a country like this, otherwise, the government doing the service all the time is never going to work till the last mile.” 

According to the Jal Jeevan Mission dashboard, 16% of Indian Households in 2019 had access to tap water connection which has now grown to 54%. However, the focus of the mission, pointed out Shri Shekhawat, is not only confined to the accessibility of water but on ensuring water quality. 

To ensure water quality in the rural parts, the ministry is engaging the rural community and leveraging technology to craft innovative solutions. It embarked on creating water and sanitation committees in each and every village which comprises 21 people with a minimum of 50% women. “We then started training the ladies in the villages and gave them hand-held devices to test the quality on all basic 12 parameters. They can test the water in their village frequently, at least in a month’s time or in a week’s time,” explained Shri Shekhawat. 

The minister, recognizing the future of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Sensor-based solutions, is now inviting Indian start-ups to contribute in this area. The ministry floated a hackathon inviting start-ups. Out of the 220 start-ups that registered, the ministry arrived at two start-ups that are now serving at more than 100 locations in the country in different geographical areas.  for everyone to see. ”Online real-time report of the quality of the water which is being distributed comes to my office. Everything, whatever I’m talking about, the entire mission is in the public domain.”

Earlier in the day, Aravind Melligeri, Chairman, and CEO, Aequs took centerstage sharing his journey of setting up a manufacturing company.  Aravind recalled his organisation’s values of Transparency, Trust, and Respect, and pointed out the lack of respect for workers in manufacturing as one of the biggest challenges. “They get yelled at, scolded. Irrespective of whatever they’re doing, they don’t get respect. So we said irrespective of who in the organisation it is, he has to be respected. Whether it’s a driver, cleaning, sweeping person, shop floor employee, blue collar, or white collar, everybody should be respected. I have let more people go for violating the respect principle than anything else in my organisation.”

When asked about his views on expanding semiconductor manufacturing in India, Aravind preferred directing investments in packaging and PCBAs, and other elements that would create more jobs rather than chasing the wafer manufacturing business. “We got to look from the job creation perspective as a country because that is the most important thing. If I was given the money, I would put it in packaging and PCB, kind of a component manufacturing…there’s so much vertical integration that can happen at a much lower cost than choosing a wafer.”

Isha Insight 2022 encompassed an illustrious set of speakers who have shared their deep insights with close to 200 business leaders from across India who are participating in this year’s Isha Insight. Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation, Thampy Koshy, CEO, Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC), Sonam Wangchuk, Director, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL);  Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder, AceVector Group (Snapdeal, Unicommerce and Stellaro); Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, MD, CEO – Bandhan Bank and Gautam Saraogi, Founder, CEO – Go Colors have graced the earlier two days of the premier business leadership intensive program. 

Over the past decade, Isha Insight: The DNA of Success has become one of the most sought-after business leadership programs in the world. Previously, program participants have been mentored by veterans like Ratan Tata, NR Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, GM Rao, KV Kamath, Ajay Piramal, Harsh Mariwala, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Bhavish Aggarwal, Pawan Goenka among several others.

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