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India Inc Leaders attend the 17th India Business Leader Awards hosted by CNBC-TV18

The awards were hosted by the Network in association with Standard Chartered Bank and also featured a Town Hall conversation between Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and industry doyens from India Inc

The beginning of the new financial year could not have been any better as

CNBC-TV18 concluded the 17th edition of the awards show in corporate India – The India Business Leaders Awards on a high note on April 1.

The show was organised at the Taj Lands Ends, Mumbai. Themed around Navigating 2022: Chasing the Recovery, the ceremony honoured the most dynamic business leaders and their exemplary contributions.

Unlike the previous two editions held virtually, IBLA 2022 was organised offline in the presence of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and change-makers from corporate India, who showcased excellence in leadership while contributing to India’s growth and development.

CNBC-TV18's Managing Editor Shereen Bhan kickstarted the evening by initiating the IBLA Townhall with the Finance Minister.

Upon being asked if India would continue to buy oil from Russia, Sitharaman said, “We have already started buying, we have received quite a number of barrels, about three to four days of supply, I would put my country’s national interest and security first, if the fuel is available at a discount why shouldn’t I buy it? I need it for my people.”

Business Leaders also brainstormed with the Finance Minister on current issues like the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the rise in oil and metal prices, GST rate rationalisation and more.

When asked by Uday Kotak, the Executive Vice-Chairman and MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank, what she would have done differently had the FM known about the Russia- Ukraine conflict, ahead of the Union Budget, Sitharaman said, “I think I would have ensured that all the wheat is sold well in time and exported. I would have ensured that I have all the sunflowers which are blooming anywhere on the earth brought to India so that I am not deficient in edible oil and I would have ensured I got all my students out.”

The IBLA Townhall was followed by the awards ceremony as leaders, from different walks of life, and organisations were felicitated. In his acceptance speech as the 'Outstanding Business Leader of the Year', Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla expressed gratitude to the medical fraternity for their untiring role on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.

Citing key challenges faced during the pandemic and acknowledging his immediate ecosystem in rising to the occasion, he said, “The speed of doing business is as important as the ease of doing business, competition from China, South Korea, and the African continent are considering investments to compete with India’s pharmaceutical companies, so we must keep up this momentum.”

Asian Paints' Non-Executive Chairman Ashwin Dani was felicitated with the 'Lifetime Achievement' award. In his note, he mentioned, "In every industry, you must first attain some level of technology before you can apply the norms of management. That is what I practise.”

Late industrialist Rahul Bajaj and AM Naik, L&T Group chairman, were honoured in the IBLA Hall of Fame for 2022. The 'Outstanding Company of the Year' was won by Hindustan Unilever Ltd, while 'Most Promising Company of the year' was bagged by the Indian Energy Exchange.

Among those from the field of sport, Neeraj Chopra was honoured under the category ‘Outstanding Contribution to Brand India’ and Avani Lekhara grabbed the title the 'Sports Leader of the Year'. Mithali Raj received a special mention for 'Outstanding Contribution to Brand India', and the 'Entertainment Leader of the Year' was won by actor Taapsee Pannu.

Among Indian businesses, Nykaa won in the category of ‘The Disruptors’, Mamaearth India was recognised as the 'Young Turks Start-Up of the Year', while Pharmeasy turned out to be 'Young Turk of the Year'. ‘The Brand Campaign of the Year’ went to Mondelez - Not Just Cadbury Ad.

The IBLA jury was headed by Laxman Narasimhan, Global CEO, Reckitt Benckiser, supported by industry veterans such as Uday Kotak, MD and CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestle India; Zarin Daruwala, Cluster CEO -  India and South Asia markets (Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka), Standard Chartered Bank; Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder and Executive Vice-Chairman, Info Edge (naukri.com); Salil Parekh, CEO, Infosys; Munish Varma, Managing Partner, SoftBank; and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics.

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