Seven most powerful rural Indians: Forbes

Ahmedabad: Mansukhbhai Jagani, Mansukhbhai Patel, Mansukhbhai Prajapati and Madanlal Kumawat, are among Forbes’ list of seven most powerful rural Indian entrepreneurs, whose “inventions are changing lives” of  the people across the country.

IIM-Ahmedabad professor and founder of India’s Honeybee Network Anil Gupta have selected the seven most powerful rural Indian entrepreneurs for a compilation in Forbes magazine.

“India’s villages have become a hot bed of innovation, as its rural poor develop inventions out of necessity. Several of the people on this list have no more than an elementary school education,” Gupta says.

Jagani developed a motorcycle-based tractor for India’s poor farmers, which is both cost effective-costing roughly $ 318-and fuel efficient (it can plow an acre of land in 30 minutes with two liters of fuel).

A farmer, Patel invented a cotton stripping machine that has significantly cut the cost of cotton farming and revolutionized India’s cotton industry.

Prajapati, a potter, invented a clay non-stick pan that costs Rs. 100 and a clay refrigerator that runs without electricity for those who cannot afford a fridge or their electricity and maintenance costs, Gupta said.

Next on the list is Future Group chairman Kishore Biyani. Called the “Sam Walton of India,” Biyani’s company operates about three million square feet of retail space in 25 Indian cities.

Coming in next is social entrepreneur Anshu Gupta, who founded GOONJ, a system that transfers used clothing and household goods from India’s rich to its poorest communities.

Gupta collects 30 tonnes of cloth every month and distributes it across 20 states.

“He has an amazing reach, a simple network and excellent supply chain management,” Gupta said, adding Troikka Pharmaceuticals MD Ketan Patel is “India’s pain-killer.”

Patel’s business focuses on developing painless solutions for medical procedures.

He developed the world’s first painless iclofenac injection, which helps alleviate acute pain and inflammation.

Also on Gupta’s list is Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade, who invented the HMT rice, a highly successful rice variety which yielded 80 percent more rice than  the conventional variety.

HMT is now grown  on some 100,000 acres in five states.

Madanlal Kumawat, a grassroots innovator with no more than a fourth-grade education, developed a fuel-efficient, multi-crop thresher that yields cleaner grains, which can be bagged directly and eliminates the cost of cleaning.

Gupta said his last                       pick Chintakindi Mallesham, inventor of the Laxmi Asu Machine, “ignited a revolution in India’s weaving community.”

Mallesham’s machine can make six saris worth of material in one day, and “no human effort is required beyond placing thread on the machine and removing the material after the process is complete.”

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