Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

From Biryani By Kilo's ambition to potential stars of IPL auction, here are our most-read stories of the week

G7's ban on Russian diamonds, Raghuram Rajan's advice for the Indian economy, battle of hybrid vs EV, are some of the stories that piqued the interest of our readers this week

Published: Dec 16, 2023 10:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Dec 15, 2023 01:57:22 PM IST

Image: ShutterstockImage: Shutterstock
1) Multinational biryani story

Be it the annual report from Zomato or Swiggy, biryani has emerged as the preferred food item Indians love to order the most. They relish Hyderabadi, Muradabadi, Lucknawi, and Kolkata specials. So what happens when someone ambitiously offers this pan-India cuisine on par with the QSRs delivering pizzas and burgers? Vishal Jindal, co-founder and CEO of Biryani By Kilo, can provide some great insights into his story of trying to build a multinational brand with the India favourite. Hailing from Agra, Jindal wondered why a global brand couldn't be made out of local cuisine as he was devouring kebabs and tandoori in the bylanes of Sadar Bazaar. This is the story of Jindal's quest.

2) Side gig to main event

When experts look at the entrepreneurs and founders who originated from small towns in India, they notice a few common things. They are unrelenting in their pursuit of success. Since they don't have much during their early years, they have a high level of desperation. Many of them experience a rock-bottom life, so they shun the low-hanging fruit and display high risk to maximise their bets. Fear has no power to cripple them. All these attributes apply to Shailesh Kumar. At one point in his entrepreneurial journey, he had to work as a delivery person for Flipkart before becoming the logistics partner six years later. Kumar has built CABT Logistics into an Rs150-crore company, and this is the story of how his shoe-string upbringing in Bihar's Smastipur inspired his grit.

3) Raghuram Rajan on India’s choices

Raghuram Rajan, former governor of RBI, and Rohit Lamba, an economist at Pennsylvania State University, believe that India’s best days are still ahead and that the country shouldn’t lose its biggest strength—democracy—by “any stretch of the imagination”.  In their new book, ‘Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future’, the duo discusses why creativity and human capital should be central to growth and development. In conversation for the podcast From the Bookshelves of Forbes India, Rajan and Lamba discuss why ideas, creativity and human capital should be at the centre of India’s vision for growth and development; how, instead of being a “faux China”, the country can embrace its strength, including its diversity, culture and demographic dividend, while moving forward. Listen here


1) Diamonds in the rough

As part of measures against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the G7 countries—US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada—have announced a ban on direct import of non-industrial diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia from January 2024, followed by restrictions on the import of Russian diamonds processed by third countries, majorly India, from March 2024. Home to 90 percent of the world's diamond cutting and polishing industry, India will face the potential disruption of livelihoods of lakhs of people employed by small diamond firms in Surat and elsewhere. Here's a look at this side of the economy and the ban's effect on the artisans at the bottom of the pyramid.

2) Two language problem

We host Viral Shah, co-inventor of Julia programming language and co-founder of Julia Hub, an enterprise software startup, on the newest episode of the Startup Fridays podcast. In this conversation, Shah talks about this open-source language's journey that will touch 15 years in the new year. Julia Hub, founded in 2015, has customers today, including some of the world's biggest pharmaceuticals, aerospace, semiconductors, and industrial engineering companies. With some $43 million in funding, Shah and his co-founders are helping scientists and engineers innovate faster by tackling what he calls the "two language problem." Listen here

3) Hybrid vs EVs

The market is full of options for the Indian consumer looking to purchase a car. All thanks to the relatively free-handed government policy, which has created an open automotive landscape, consumers can pick from a host of fuel types before they even get to the car they choose. Talk of spoilt for choices, as there is a sea of options at any given price point. There are traditional combustion-engine cars, hybrids—something Maruti Suzuki has been selling the most—and buzzy electric vehicles. But this is also what makes decision-making a little tricky. Allow us to help you make it a little easier. Hybrids and EVs are all the rage, but do they make sense for you? Let's take a look at the arguments.

4) Who will break the bank at IPL?

'Tis the season to be merry and will be doubly so for 333 players that will go under the hammer for the mini-auction for the upcoming season of Indian Premier League on December 19. The anticipation of the event has already made many Indian cricket fans forget about the pain of losing the World Cup final. It is all about waving the flag of your favourite franchise and keeping your fingers crossed that your team bags the best players from the auction pool. Seventy-seven slots are open across franchises, and 116 capped and 215 uncapped players will be vying for them. Gujarat Titans have the heftiest purse with eight spots to fill, while Lucknow SuperGiants have the lightest purse to fill six spots. Here's a look at five players that might cause a bidding war at the auction.