Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi figure among the Fortune magazine’s 2015 list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders who are transforming “business, government and philanthropy”.
While Modi is ranked fifth, Satyarthi comes in at 28th on the list that is topped by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Modi rode to victory in (the Indian general) elections last year on a wave of economic dissatisfaction,” the profile on the Indian prime minister reads.
“But while many reformers before him have talked a good game, Modi has actually begun to deliver on his promises — making genuine progress in his efforts to make India more business-friendly and less regulated, addressing violence against women, improving sanitation, and patching up relations with other Asian countries and the US. There is, to be sure, a long way to go,” it stated.
According to the magazine, fully achieving any of Modi’s goals “will require reforming India’s powerful, widely corrupt bureaucracy”.
“But he has put the bureaucrats on notice while taking action where he can — for example, by substantially increasing allowable foreign investment in the insurance industry. And in greatly simplifying the procedure for getting a visa to visit India, he has symbolically lowered the status of bureaucrats and raised that of potential outside investors,” it stated.
The magazine said that Modi seized control of the national agenda and “sent a message that it’s time for all of India — not just its infotech services sector — to join the 21st century”.
“The IMF and other forecasters now believe India will be growing faster than China in a year or two,” it said.
Regarding Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousufzai, the magazine said the Indian child rights activist “has led the global fight against child labour for more than three decades”.
“Founded in 1980, his Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) has protected the rights of some 83,000 children around the world. Child labour, he says, is as much an economic issue, perpetuating poverty and illiteracy, as it is about human rights. In any case, no one has done as much to prevent it as he has,” Satyarthi’s profile reads.
Among others to figure on the list are European Central Bank president Mario Draghi (second), Chinese President Xi Jinping (third), Pope Francis (fourth), General Motors CEO Mary Barra (9th), Hong Kong student activist and a leader of last year’s Occupy Central movement Joshua Wong (10th), Bill and Melinda Gates (18th), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (25th), Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (44th) and Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert Akira Miyawaki (50th).
Raj Panjabi, the Indian-origin CEO of the non-profit organisation Last Mile Health that works in Liberia to save lives in some of the most remote villages, figures at number 34 on the list.
Panjabi, who spent the first nine years of his life in Liberia, fled that country after a civil war broke out.
“In 2007 he went back — this time with a medical degree and a mission: to train villagers in remote areas to be health care workers,” Panjabi’s profile reads.
“Seven years later, when Ebola struck, Panjabi’s Last Mile Health rapidly trained 1,300 Liberians — an army that helped keep the virus at bay in many parts of the country. Now he’s working with Liberia’s government to launch a national community health worker programme.”