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  • Tarun Das

A Role Model in Public Service


Uday Kotak stepped down as President of CII today after a year in office. CII Presidents come and go each year so why this special attention this year. Several reasons.


First, the clarity of views of Uday Kotak on the major economic challenges of the day, have been outstanding. It comes from Deep understanding of the complex economy of India and thought-out, mature, forward-looking thinking, analysis and ideas. Perhaps, being an outstanding banker helps.


Second, beyond Economy, the past year has been dominated by the Covid-19 challenge, first and second wave and he has got deep into the management of Covid issues, especially so in Maharashtra where he has chaired a special Task Force. He has put “Lives” before “Livelihood” and has had a major role to play in CII’s engagement with Covid 19 and also of the corporate sector. For the first-time ever, CII set up a Covid hospital and its management team focused for weeks on helping individuals and corporates to deal with the second wave crisis.


Third, Uday Kotak is constantly constructive. He does not criticize. He suggests. He proposes. He recommends. He turns very bad situations into opportunities for new strategies, policies and actions. No one can ever take objection to his way. Always positive, always action oriented, never negative.


Fourth, he is professional to the core, not personal. He is one unique CII President who has not projected the “I”.


He has not used the CII platform to promote his Brand or its agenda. His has been a remarkable example of separating private agenda, if any, from public service as CII President. This is exceptional. There are Presidents in Industry bodies who find it impossible to separate personal, corporate interest and agenda from a wider, broader view. Not so Uday Kotak.


Fifth, his articulation is extraordinary. His command and language outstanding. His choice of words, prefect, combined with clarity of thoughts, this is a truly unique quality of this slightly-greying, young-looking, business leader of India. As a result, he is a much sought after spokesperson for India and Indian Business and it is to his credit that he is not over-exposed, he is careful in his choice of media interaction. Wisdom of a person far beyond his years.


Sixth, the quality of Uday Kotak will ensure that he will not fade into unknown. He will be around. He will be sought after. He will continue to contribute, carefully and wisely, constructively and positively. Because, he is a role model of Public Service as he has shown over the past year. And, a commodity of rare value. Uday Kotak understands what an “Institution” is and what it means to head a national institution. Many do not.


Seventh, and, finally, he has understood the meaning of “Public Service” and the unique opportunity of the CII Presidency. He had choices. To stay within the limited confines of industry or he could go beyond, to think and contribute to National Development, People Development. Healthcare Development. He chose the latter. That is “Public Service”. That is Uday Kotak.

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