On the occasion of the book release of Mr. Pramod Chaudhari’s book AS IS, WHAT IS, former chairman of ISRO, Dr. K. Kasturirangan addressed the gathering. The programme was chaired by Dr. R. A. Mashelkar.

Mr. Chaudhari began by recounting the early beginnings of Praj Industries and the aspirations it nurtured. He reminisced about how Praj had crossed the 100 crore mark in 2004 and Dr. Mashelkar had encouraged him to take the company forward and cross the 1000 crore mark.

“The period from 2004 to 2010 was very hectic and full of challenges, especially given the subprime crisis of 2008”, said Mr. Chaudhari. But In March 2009, in its silver jubilee year, Praj crossed the 980 crore mark.

Mr. Chaudhari talked about how they were able to establish their presence in many parts of the world, (in countries)  such as Colombia, Thailand, Germany, Belgium, etc. and expressed his gratitude for the support extended by Mr. Vinod Khosla through his investment of 120 crores to set up a state of the art R&D facility at Praj.

“Rising from the ashes has been a great learning experience. Steady state is not exciting”, he expressed. He highlighted the importance of “people” over money and shared that many employees have been a part of Praj for 20-25 years.

Closing his talk, Mr. Chaudhari laid emphasis on ‘Continuous innovation as an imperative’ and how Innovation, Research and Development is the backbone of any progress.

Address by Dr. K. Kasturirangan – The book release was followed by an Address by Dr. K. Kasturirangan who spoke on “Sustaining a Scientific Endeavour – The Culture and Strategy of ISRO”. He talked about India’s immense space exploration potential by citing the examples of Chandrayan and Mangalyaan.

He spoke about Dr. Sarabhai’s contribution in designing the strategies for the development and progress of ISRO. Another aspect he touched upon was the diversification in application areas of these space initiatives, such as building satellites for enhancing agriculture, education and disaster management.