Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

DNPA Awards 2024: Meet the high-powered grand jury

The Grand Jury will deliberate and decide the winners of the 2024 DNPA Awards, recognising cutting-edge digital initiatives that have had a profound contribution in India's progress

Published: Jan 15, 2024 02:54:09 PM IST
Updated: Jan 15, 2024 03:11:07 PM IST

DNPA Awards 2024: Meet the high-powered grand juryThe DNPA Awards serve as a platform to honour cutting-edge digital initiatives that have had a profound contribution in India's and its peoples’ progress

The stage is set for the 2024 edition of the prestigious DNPA Conclave and Awards. Under the theme 'Navigating Digital Transformation in the Media Industry', Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), the apex body representing the digital wings of India’s leading print and broadcasting news publishers, will hold the conclave and awards ceremony to decode and celebrate digital innovation and excellence.

The Network18 Group’s Storyboard18 is the Knowledge Partner for the DNPA Conclave & Awards 2024.

Through meaningful and deep discussions, the conclave aims to spotlight critical issues and surface future-facing strategies and models that power an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable digital media ecosystem, which is foundational to the progress of the nation.

The DNPA Awards serve as a platform to honour cutting-edge digital initiatives that have had a profound contribution in India's and its peoples’ progress. The awards recognize the extraordinary innovations made in various sectors including health, education, finance, and media, alongside pivotal areas like women empowerment, environmental protection, governance, and administrative reforms, acknowledging those who have been instrumental in India’s digital journey and inspiring continued innovation and excellence, while setting global standards.

DNPA Awards 2024: Meet the high-powered grand jury

The Grand Jury will be chaired by former Union Minister and senior Parliamentarian of India, Suresh Prabhu.

THE GRAND JURY: Learn more about the esteemed jury members

Suresh Prabhu

Jury chair Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu is a chartered accountant, banker, policymaker, strategist, change leader, senior politician, and former senior parliamentarian. Over the course of 30 years, Prabhu has held 10 important cabinet portfolios at the federal and central levels, including industry, power, environment and forests, railways, civil aviation, commerce and industry, and fertilizers and chemicals. Additionally, he has served as the Prime Minister’s Sherpa to the G7 and G20, playing a crucial role in shaping the government’s official agenda on critical issues for the ensuing summits.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani

A true visionary of India’s startup ecosystem, Sanjeev Bikhchandani is the founder and executive vice chairman of Info Edge, the parent company of, among a whole host of others, the prominent jobs portal Naukri. He is also a co-founder of Ashoka University, a leading private institution of higher learning. In recognition of his contributions, he was conferred the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award, in January 2020. Bikhchandani completed his schooling at St Columba's School, Delhi, in 1981, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from St Stephen's College, Delhi, in 1984, and added an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in 1989.

Ajay Sawhney

Ajay Prakash Sawhney is a distinguished member of the Indian Administrative Service. In his tenure with the Indian government, he served as the president and CEO of the National e-Governance Division, playing a pivotal role in facilitating the implementation of the national e-governance plan for MeitY. Prior to this, he held the position of additional secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas. Notably, he later assumed the role of secretary of the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) of the Government of India.

Aruna Sharma

A seasoned development economist, Aruna Sharma has served as secretary at the ministries of electronics and information technology (MeitY), and steel. She was also a member of the Reserve Bank of India's high-level committee on deepening digital payments in India. Her work spans diverse domains, including digital transformation, e-governance, fintech apart from core sectors such as steel and mining. Renowned for her leadership in developing and implementing panchayat-level governance models, she presently sits on the board of directors for various companies. She is also an accomplished author, with five bestselling books to her credit, including her latest work, Dancing Towards A $5 Trillion Economy on a Holistic Beat.

Shashi Shekhar Vempati

Shashi Shekhar Vempati, a distinguished technocrat, columnist, policy thinker, and now an author, has played pivotal roles in Indian technology, media and public policy. Presently, he chairs the advisory committee overseeing science and technology communication for the government. His leadership roles include CEO of Prasar Bharati (2017-2022), CEO of Rajya Sabha TV (2017-2019), and CEO of Niti Digital (2014-2016), among others. Vempati has contributed significantly to technology and public policy, particularly in broadcasting and media reforms. Notably, as the chairperson of the committee to review television ratings guidelines, he played a key role in reforms in TV audience measurement. As a co-founder of the ‘AI for India’ forum, Vempati is actively involved in fostering the development of the artificial intelligence ecosystem in India.

Arvind Gupta

With over 30 years of diverse experience in leadership, policy and entrepreneurship, Arvind Gupta has made significant contributions in both Silicon Valley and India. He is the co-founder of Digital India Foundation (DIF), a not-for-profit think-tank aiming to foster digital inclusion and adoption, and the use of the Internet and related technologies for the developmental process. Recognised as an Eisenhower fellow for innovation, Gupta actively engages with industry forums like NASSCOM and TiE, and is a founding member of ISPiRT, the software products industry think tank. Gupta serves on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Digital Futures Council and contributes to the OECD Initiative on Global Value Chains. He holds positions on the boards of the IIT-BHU Alumni Association and PAN-IIT Alumni Association. Gupta is also a mentor for numerous startups.

Prasoon Joshi

A man who wears many hats, Prasoon Joshi is currently the chairman, McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific and CEO & CCO at McCann Worldgroup India, a global marketing firm. That is, of course, apart from his role as poet, writer, lyricist and screenwriter. He has also been serving as chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification since August 11, 2017. Joshi has earned many accolades for his work in cinema including the Hindi movie ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’. He has also been honoured with the National Film Award for Best Lyrics twice, for contributions to Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Chittagong (2013). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2015 for his “remarkable contributions to Arts, Literature, and Advertising”. Joshi is also one of the most recognized and influential people in the global advertising industry.

Nappinai NS

Supreme Court and Bombay High Court advocate Nappinai NS has nearly 30 years’ experience and is a trailblazer in developing cyber laws in India. With a diverse legal background including constitutional, criminal, cybercrime, intellectual property, corporate and commercial law, she is a litigator and seasoned expert. Nappinai is an honorary advisor to the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), advisor to the Maharashtra Cyber Police, and serves as a senior panel advocate for Central and Western Railways. Nappinai also founded Cyber Saathi, an initiative to empower through knowledge, which kicked off with a programme on online safety measures for children. She is a prolific writer, with articles carried by leading national and international publications. She also authored a seminal book on cyber laws, Technology Laws Decoded, in 2017.

Vinit Goenka

Vinit Goenka is a politician associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the past 25 years. He was a former spokesperson for BJP Delhi Pradesh. Before joining the BJP, he was actively engaged with the party’s youth wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He worked in the corporate sector for 12 years before plunging into active politics. Goenka has proven expertise in data sovereignty, information technology, transportation and infrastructure, and agriculture. He is a nominated member of the programme committee at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), under the Ministry of Culture.

Robert Ravi

A. Robert Jerard Ravi is theChief Technology Officer of the Government of Tamil Nadu. He currently serves as an Indian Telecom Service officer with significant contributions, including developing the Indian AI stack and creating essential portals for the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). He has played key roles in projects ranging from FTTH broadband systems to e-governance initiatives in Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East, showcasing his expertise in telecommunications. Additionally, he has lectured and published papers on diverse topics such as broadband deployment and AI for fraud detection techniques. Notably, he installed and commissioned the first OCB/AXE/EWSD systems in the Tamil Nadu circle for DoT. He holds a degree in electronics engineering and an MBA in international business from Pondicherry University.

Vivan Sharan

Vivan Sharan is the founder and partner at Koan Advisory Group. His previous roles include serving as the CEO of the Global Governance Program at the Observer Research Foundation and as the business head of a sustainability company. He currently is a member of the National Committee on Media and Entertainment, constituted by the Confederation of Indian Industry. As a seasoned public policy professional, he specializes in innovation, technology, global governance, climate and finance. Additionally, the economist is the author of Wonked!: India in Search of an Economic Ideology, published by Bloomsbury in 2019. Outside his professional pursuits, he actively invests in science and agriculture, contributing to the development of rural infrastructure.