Promod Chawla

Promod Chawla

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A rare altruist, spreading goodness

Pramod is detached from love of riches as well as earthly success. Sows goodness, radiates enthusiasm & has an abundance of humility & gentleness.
Is recognized for not only initiating action but building a technology driven networked team, achieving consensus for well being of others. Naturally complimented with hunger for Justice.

Born in Patna in 1941 to an aeronautical engineer, Pramod spent his childhood at Patna, Nagpur and Tughlaq Road, New Delhi. Where he was influenced by political stalwart like Khurshid Lal who happned to be his uncle and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Mahavir Tyagi, K. D. Malavia etc who were friends of his uncle.
Pramod was admitted to The Doon School (1954-60) as per his father’s dream of giving his son the best possible education. At Doon School, he excelled not only in academics but also in social work. His altruistic orientation and attitude to serve the humanity was visible since childhood. During his school days at Doon School, he was the head of “The Dehat Sabha”, which was engaged in village welfare and adult education.

Education and professional background:
After passing out from Doon School in 1960, Promod spent a year in Titagarh paper mills (1960-61) and learnt paper making in the shop floor. Then he studied for his Arts degree with Economics and Psychology at St.John’s College, Agra.
He started his professional career with Balmer & Lawrie in 1964 in Kolkata as an Executive. During this time he got a chance to rub shoulders with Big B (Amitabh Bachhan, the mega star of Bollywood) , Vijay Krishna and many other eminent personalities . His career flourished in Balmer & Lawrie, where he worked till 1981 making a mark in the growth of Balmer & Lawrie.

He was solely responsible for setting up of the steel barrel making plant in Bombay in 1972. Here he met eminent international personalities from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turki, Tanzania and Kenya who visited the Bombay plant for setting up steel barrel plants. All the above resulted in Balmer & Lawrie setting up of a plant in Dubai in May 1978 and another plant in Cochin in May 1981 leads to growth of its prominence.

So much was the impact of his performance on Balmer & Lawrie that a book published on the history and growth of the company, makes a special mention of the contribution made by Promod Chawla.

But, Promod Chawla felt, he had no more challenge left for him at Balmer & Lawrie and he left for Delhi in 1981 leaving a flourishing corporate career.
At Delhi he decided joining against the Doon School friends like Arun Singh, Rajiv Gandhi etc. He smelled the decline in political standards and values.
With the experience in International business and Corporate Strategy and being trained in marketing and Finance in Jamunalal Bajaj Institute and IIM, Ahmedabad, he preferred to work for CIMMCO where he had to work on Railway projects. This is where he encountered corrupt practices and had a tough time dealing with it.

After this phase, he had a trying time for about two decades, though he had more than enough financial resources to carry on and huge network of powerful friends and relatives. He travelled different parts of the world and introspected about life. Finally he decided to spend rest of his life on social entrepreneurship and giving back to society. Since then, at the age of 59 – in 2000, he has been on a journey and do good to society.

We may also call him a “Corporate Professional turned Social Activist.”

With a corporate management background, Promod Chawla could easily spot the huge problem in our governance system and decided to put his heart and soul for doing his best in improving the governance and service delivery system. The strategy for achieving his goal, he decided to adopt the power of NETWORK. Therefore, he joined a group of like -minded professionals as a trustee of NNFI (National Network for India Trust) and continued supporting and empowering NNFI and any other network working for any cause allied to governance and service delivery. He continues to act as an active NNFI member. NNFI started in 2001, as a Not for Profit Trust, which was registered in New Delhi in 2003.

NNFI is a citizens’ initiative to reach out and connect those many Indians who are concerned with the future of their country, coupled with the determination to make India a better place for all. NNFI covers all India, especially youth, urban and rural, as well as Non Resident Indians living in US, EU, SE Asia, Middle East even in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Pramod and the other eminent members spearhead Citizen Group Action using Networking and Communication Tools which engulfs 400 likeminded Groups and an enviable data base. Currently NNFI is taking up the issue of the appointment of Election Commission who reaches the position of Chief Election Commission. As a representative of the Civil Society, they are raising their voice to clean the politics by the appointment of any Retired Judge or a prominent bureaucrat who can not be influenced by the political system.
The major activities in which NNFI’s network led by Mr. Pramod Chawla has been passionately involved include,
a) Governance Reform on key areas through RTI filing
b) Electoral Reforms and
c) Bijli Satyagraha to refuse electricity rate hike
A. The Governance Reform efforts by NNFI’s network led to the following.
1. Whistleblower bill introduced
2. Raised voice against the land acquired for the airport in Greater Noida not only to pay the price of the land but to take care of the future of the land owners.
3. Filed many RTI’s & appealed to Decriminalize Politics and exposing black money hoarders the CWG Scam – 2G / Raja / Adarsh Housing / Lavasa
4. Pressurise the black money in tax heavens to come back.

B. Electoral Reforms
NNFI’s network has been involved in initiatives for Electoral Reform directly and indirectly and contributed to the following positive outcomes improving the electoral process.
2002: NNFI’s members met several Cabinet ministers and put forth their views on need for CV cum Disclosures in Public life. This culminated in an audience of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam the hen President on Aug. 16, 2002 who favoured their suggestions; the process led to to SC acceptance & ECI issuing a format & making disclosure of assets, liabilities, criminal record, educational details as mandatory wef March 2003.

Like the above, NNFI’s network led by Mr. Pramod Chawla as a passionate activist, been involved in and supported initiatives leading to the following positive reform outcome.
1. Sept. 2013 – Leaders who gets 2 years in Jail will lose seats. No more protection by clause 4 of section 8 of Representation of the People Act (RPA).
2. Sept. 2013 – SC ordered rejection of Nomination if columns on Criminal Antecedents Not Filled up.
3. Oct. 2013 -Government decided to support fast – track courts for booked politicos.
4. Nov.2013 – Government issued Public Notice for NOTA (introduces Non Of The Above) – an EVM option introduced which a Voter can Press if he / she don’t wish to vote for any of the contesting candidates.
5. Dec.2013 – SC seeks law panel’s view on banning Politicians submitting false affidavits or face Trials due to serious offences.
6. March 2014 – Lies in Poll affidavit to attract jail term.
7. Mandated disclosures in Form 26 to be filled meticulously, preferably in digital format. This necessary step is also taken.
C: NNFI’s network participation in BIJLI Satyagraha in Delhi (7th JULY 2005)

When the Government & Discoms decided to hike electricity rates by10% without any explanation to the Citizens, the citizen / the consumers, rejected the hike in rates. The RWAs joined together for non-violent struggle for justice & fair play. NNFI’s network played a key role in mobilizing the RWAs and the Satyagraha. The Satyagraha was successful in blocking the hike and also proved the power of Satyagraha Movement.
The altruistic spirit of Promod Chawla is like a candle, which is spreading light of goodness and positive change. CSR VISION wishes him & NNFI, all the best. members, all the best.

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.