Genesis of Yi

CII Young Indians – The Genesis

A chance meeting with Mr Ashok Soota, who had just taken over as President, CII, when we were both on our way to the CII National Council Meeting in Kolkata had us discussing India and its potential. During our conversation, he asked me whether I would be interested in chairing the Young Business Council (YBC) of CII. I was just 36.Although it was interesting, I told him I would think about it.

A little research revealed to me that CII’s YBC had a few Chapters across India but was most active in South India. They met frequently to discuss business issues.While I appreciated their focus, the raison d'être didn’t appeal to me. Business issues are largely age-agnostic and were being discussed across the board in CII, by the young as well as the old. After all, business issues are the same for everyone.

I saw in the youth involved in CII YBC a huge potential to go beyond business issues. This, I felt, was in fact the need of the hour. Remember, we are talking of 2000, when India was not seen as one of the most promising and fastest-growing economies of the world. It was on the threshold of a new millennium, where there was need for new direction and new commitment.

Therefore, the youth could focus on how they could contribute to their country and shape its future, by going beyond business.

With this idea in mind, I met Mr Ashok Soota, and Mr Tarun Das, who was then the Director General of CII, telling them I would be happy to lead CII’s YBC with this new mandate.They readily agreed. And thus, began an interesting journey of giving new shape to YBC, and consequently, India.

I visited YBC members in Bengaluru and Chennai, where the idea was received very enthusiastically. Some joined hands with me to crystallize the idea and the new organization. With CII’s help we put together a group of people from across major cities who were committed to this new vision and idea. They played a key role in laying the foundation of this new organization.

We hired a Hyderabad-based agency which developed the logo for the new organization: Young Indians (Yi).Our first Yi meeting was held in the office of Mr KV Kamath who was then the MD of ICICI Bank. He not only graciously gave us office space to host the meeting, but also addressed the gathering of select people, inspiring us with his encouraging words. The new organization along with the vision and objectives was presented to the select audience.

While the new name and logo were readily accepted, there were more deliberations on the vision and objective. It was fine tuned to enable the youth to give their best for India’s development.
With a clear vision, a new name and logo, CII’s Young Indians took its first fledging steps towards creating a new India.

GV. Sanjay Reddy
Past National Chairman Yi &
Vice Chairman ,GVK