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General News 10 most influential men from India
The political, business and social landscape in India, and even the world, is being shaped by these influential men. While some have millions of fans, some are billionaires, some have power and some have nothing but noble intent that have often resulted in their being out of public radar.

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Vijay Shekhar Sharma – Founder, Paytm
Talk about disruption and Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm springs to mind immediately. A fintech startup, it completely changed the face of transactions in India. And with demonetisation, it became a household name and made its founder a billionaire. From cab drivers, food delivery services, restaurants to sabiziwala’s hollering their fare on the sidewalks – almost everybody flaunts a Paytm wallet signage showing they accept cashless payments, these days. Paytm also offers a host of other facilities such as mobile recharge, paying utility bills, booking movie, flight and train tickets, etc. It also has an e-commerce platform.

Sharma, who travelled from a small town to Delhi to do his engineering, tasted phenomenal success with Paytm after dabbling in other startup ventures. He now hopes to disrupt the banking space with the newly launched Paytm Payments bank, the fourth payments bank in India. The bank may also help him rake up profits that have eluded Paytm so long.

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What Vijay Shekhar Sharma is to the fintech space, Mukesh Ambani is to telecom. The billionaire oil tycoon’s $20 billion startup in telecom called Jio, shook the space like no other with its free voice calls for life. Not just that, it also offered data at knockdown rates which resulted in a price war and a wave of consolidation in the sector.

Ambani’s next ambitious venture: Disrupt the smartphone space with free feature phones, which is cross between a smartphone and basic handset, for Jio customers against a three year deposit of Rs.1500.

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Kailash Satyarthi – Social Worker
He is not a billionaire and does not have millions of fan followers on social media. Given the field of his work, which is social service, it’s not hard to see why. But its impact is far more meaningful for it prevents children from getting exploited and helps to reinstate their rights as minors.

Satyarthi is the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a non-profit organization working toward eliminating child labour and rehabilitation of the rescued child workers. He is said to have saved over 80,000 child labourers since 1980. Pity, all his good work came to limelight only after he received Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. It is only then that his fellow countrymen recognised his work and gave him his due honour.

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Satya Nadella – CEO, Microsoft
Nadella took over the mantle of CEO from Steve Ballmer, when the software giant was struggling to regain its mojo. All of its latest offerings, Bing (the search engine) and Lumia (mobile phone) were nowhere near replicating the earlier success of Windows and Office.

With far-sighted sagacity, Nadella focussed on other growth avenues such as cloud computing and augmented reality. More importantly, he reshaped the organizational structure to make it more competitive. He also oversaw the purchase of the professional network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.

His strategies proved wildly successful in over three years’ time taking the tech titan’s market cap to a record high. Last week, it also reported strong fourth-quarter earnings on the back of its fast-growing cloud computing business.

Nadella hails from a humble background and has made it to the top of the world’s most reputed software company with tremendous acumen and focus.

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E Sreedharan – Metro Man
The octogenarian has his hands full with planning metro rails in Gorakhpur, Agra, Varanasi and Meerut. Popularly referred to as “Metro Man,” Sreedharan made headlines for successfully building the Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro. He is also credited with getting Kochi Metro up and running, along with a multitude of others in different other cities.

Overcoming every hurdle, including bureaucratic and budgetary, the manner in which Sreedharan built seamless modern transport systems in cities across the nation within stipulated budget and timeframes is a tour de force.

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Narendra Modi – Prime Minister, India
Like him, hate him, but you just can’t ignore him. Modi looms large over the India’s political landscape and remains unchallenged after three years in power, thanks to an opposition which is not being able to get its act together.

Be it pushing ahead with the crucial tax reform of Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the sudden banning of high denomination notes to catch black money holders unawares or launching high decibel initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, affordable housing for all, doubling of farm incomes by 2020, housing for all by 2022 and others – he has consistently hogged headlines with his bold moves and tall promises.

And even though his government has little to show in terms of achievements so far and has been at the receiving end lately for fostering cow vigilantism, Modi still seems poised for another term with thunderous win in the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections earlier this year and with Nitish Kumar’s win in Bihar with the BJP’s support.

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Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal – Founders, Flipkart
They quit their jobs at Amazon to build ecommerce firm Flipkart ten years back. From a fledging startup then to the largest e-tailing company in India now, it is giving stiff competition to late entrant but deep-pocketed Amazon’s ecommerce business on the home turf. By popularising online marketing enormously, Flipkart has decidedly disrupted the retail space in the nation.

This put founders Sachin and Binny Bansal in the TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world in 2016. The turbocharged sales growth of the e-tailing firm also placed them in the billionaires club.

But, with the company getting into trouble in a reckless bid to grow bigger in a saturated market through offering heavy discounts, by bringing in more product categories, hiring more people and paying hefty salaries to top level executives, there were subsequent devaluations. The duo lost their billionaire tag and top positions as a result.
However, as Flipkart once again pips arch rival Amazon in sales this year and looks to buy rival beleaguered online retailer Snapdeal, the duo seem slated for a comeback.

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Virat Kohli – Cricketer
The world famous cricketer needs no introduction. He is the captain of the Indian national team since 2013 and is one of the best batsmen in the world.

Kohli was placed eighth in ESPN’s list of world’s most famous athletes in 2016. He also leads the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Indian Premier League matches.

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Sundar Pichai – CEO, Google
He heads Google, the wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet (the latter is headed by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin). His forte: product development. Under his purview: Android, Google Maps, Search, etc.
On his agenda: build the best machine learning systems in the world and use it to create apps and services that will become an absolute necessity in consumers’ life.

Need we say more?

The versatile, immensely knowledgeable and shrewd Sundar Pichai is considered one of the most powerful figures in the corporate world and also in mobile. Coming from a humble background, he is now one of the highest paid CEOs in the US. His journey from IIT, to Stanford to the helm of internet behemoth Google is the stuff of corporate legend.

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Arun Jaitley – Union Minister
With three crucial portfolios of defence, finance and corporate affairs under his care, union minister Arun Jaitley, is a political heavyweight in Modi’s cabinet. He is the go-to-person for every problem too.

A senior advocate, he is the one who is said to have handled Modi’s legal problems. He has been largely instrumental in carrying out important economic reforms such as biggest tax reform of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the responsible for opening of foreign direct investment in various sectors, Aadhaar legislation, Direct Benefit Transfer, etc.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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