India's automotive industry has reason to celebrate on Republic Day today and beyond. Two doyens and sterling leaders with a reach across the entire industrial spectrum and not just automotive – TVS Motor Co Chairman Venu Srinivasan and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra – have been conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan award for this year, announced on the occasion of Republic Day.
The Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian awards of the country, are conferred in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (for distinguished service of high order) and Padma Shri (for distinguished service in any field). Venu Srinivasan and Anand Mahindra have been recognised for their distinguished service in trade and industry with the Padma Bhushan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Congratulations to all those who have been conferred the Padma Awards. The awardees include extraordinary individuals who have made exceptional contributions to our society, nation and humanity."
In reply, Anand Mahindra tweeted," Sir, thank you for recognising our Rise philosophy—trying to do well AND do good. And there’s an old saying: If you see a turtle on top of a fence, you know for sure it didn’t get there on its own! I stand on the shoulders of all Mahindraites. I will convey your compliments to them!"
Anand Mahindra is the chairman of the US $20.7 billion Mahindra Group. His tenure has seen the Group expand domestically and internationally into a range of major industrial sectors from automobiles and agriculture to IT and aerospace. The Group has also grown inorganically through acquisitions such as Ssangyong Motors, Mahindra Electric, Satyam Computer Services, Peugeot Motocycles, Gippsland Aeronautics, Aerostaff Australia, Holiday Club Resorts, and Pininfarina SpA. An incisive business commentator and humanitarian with over 7 million followers on Twitter, Mr. Mahindra also initiated the Nanhi Kali programme, which, for the last two decades, has provided over 330,000 under-privileged girls access to high quality education.
In March 2019, Anand Mahindra was appointed Board member of United Nations Global Compact. A strong advocate of sustainability across industry and brand India, he is a driver for electric mobility and has said that India should own the R&D and technology to be a global EV hub.
Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company, is a former president of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). With the success of TVS, he has shown how an Indian company can grow to be a company of global quality and recognition and manufacture products that can match or even exceed the best in the world by adopting the right work ethos and successful work culture.
Venu Srinivasan began his career as a mechanic in his own garage during vacations and put in long, gruelling hours of preparation for his task ahead. In 1979 Venu Srinivasan an engineer and an MBA from Purdue University (USA) took over as the CEO of Sundaram-Clayton. The same year TVS Motor Company was born, and under Venu Srinivasan's persistent and diligent work grew to be the third largest two-wheeler manufacturing unit in India.
A visionary, Venu Srinivasan pioneered the TQM (Total Quality Management) concept based on the Japanese model, long before most enterprises in India did. His single-minded focus on excellence and quality bore rich dividends with Sundaram Clayton and TVS Motor Company winning the global quality benchmark - the Deming Application Prize in 2002. Many more awards and honours followed, the most recent being the prestigious Deming ‘Distinguished Service Award For Dissemination and Promotion Overseas’. With this, he becomes the first industrialist from India to receive the prestigious award for his contributions in the field of TQM.
The University of Warwick, Coventry, Warwickshire honored Venu Srinivasan with a Doctorate Degree in Science in recognition for his excellence in manufacturing and contribution in the field of Technology and Research & Development.
As the past president of CII and chairman of the National Committee for Quality, Mr Srinivasan played an active role in accelerating TQM promotion. Over 100,000 practicing managers were trained on TQM methods, and till date, 36 Indian companies have won the Deming Prize with India becoming the second largest country to have Deming prize winners. Progress of the CII cluster for TQM promotion inspired the Auto Components Manufacturers Association (ACMA) too. The ACMA cluster was established to create community for learning and implementation of TQM to improve customer satisfaction, quality focus, 5S, daily work management and Total Employee Involvement for continuous improvement.
Also read: Anand Mahindra: "The story of 'Innovated in India' has just begun."