Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Architect Balkrishna Doshi, and human rights lawyer Indira Jaising have been featured in Fortune magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders of 2018.
Fortune’s list “of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges” also includes Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Ranking Ambani at 24th place, Fortune said that he had “in less than two years, brought mobile data to the masses and completely upended the country’s telecom market”. “Since Ambani, chief of the $47 billion conglomerate Reliance Industries, launched Jio — the first mobile network in the world to be entirely IP-based — in September 2016, the company has signed up a staggering 168 million subscribers.
“The secret? Offering dirt-cheap data and free calls (and plowing billions of dollars into the infrastructure that transmits them). The effect, dubbed ‘Jio-fication’, has driven India’s higher-price carriers to drop costs (if not run them out of business), and it fueled a 1,100 per cent rise in India’s monthly data consumption,” it said.
Lawyers Collective Founder Indira Jaising has been ranked 20. “When the poorest in India need a voice, they find one in Jaising, a lawyer who has dedicated her life to battling injustice,” Fortune said. “She has fought on behalf of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, helped Syrian Christian women in India win property rights equal to their male counterparts’, and helped draft India’s first domestic violence law. “Her work has recently led her to Myanmar, where she was appointed by the UN to lead an investigation into the persecution of Rohingya Muslims,” it added.
Ranking Doshi at 43, Fortune said he is the winner of architecture’s highest honour this year – the Pritzker Prize – and has spent the bulk of his 70-year career championing accessible housing, earning the nickname of “the architect for the poor”.
“His designs include the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, a labyrinth of homes and courtyards that provide around 80,000 residents with a balance of open spaces and communal living, and the mixed-income Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad, where several generations of a family can occupy levels of the same building.
“Underlying all his work is the ideal that all economic classes deserve good housing,” it said. The first rank in this year’s list goes to “The Students” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools in the US that suffered from gun violence.
This year’s list includes Bill and Melinda Gates, tennis star Serena Williams, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Tencent CEO Huateng ‘Pony’ Ma, Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian and Hollywood actor-producer Reese Witherspoon.