Gram Unnati, a full-stack agricultural value chain services, announced the appointment of Sunil Arora, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, as its board’s new Chairman (Non-Executive).
Gram Unnati, an agritech startup, provides advisory services, access to high-quality inputs at low cost and market linkages to marginal farmers along with customised production, logistics and end-to-end quality control of agri produce to institutional buyers.
The company has a formidable advisory pool comprising seasoned agri professionals, ex-civil servants, and industry body representatives. Gram Unnati operates through a network of 30 district level centres spread across the nation, helping agro-processors source quality cereals, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables directly from farmers.
Sunil Arora is a retired civil servant (IAS) with a rich leadership experience spanning over 36 years. He has headed strategic departments while driving governance and policy reform initiatives both at the Central and state governments. He has served as secretary to two key ministries – Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) and the then newly set up Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
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Highlighting the appointment, Aneesh Jain, CEO and Founder, Gram Unnati said “We are delighted to have Sunil Arora joined us. It is an honour to work under his esteemed guidance and supervision. His rich experience, insights and direction will enable Gram Unnati to further improve its market-linked solution for farmers and sustainably enhance their incomes.”
Arora has served as Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to the Government of Rajasthan and aside from being a key proponent for the Rajasthan State Industrial Policy, he has been on the board of various corporate entities, such as Barmer Mining and Lignite Company, Mahindra SEZ, and Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals. He oversaw the development of the Japanese Zone in Neemrana (Alwar), leading to the establishment of various manufacturing units in the state, for instance, Honda. He was the Principal Staff Officer of Chief Minister, Rajasthan from 2005-2009 as well as from 1993-1998. His district postings spanned from 1985-1993 as collector and district magistrate for Dholpur, Alwar, Nagaur and Jodhpur.
Arora has led administrative and policy reforms to revitalise the then Indian Airlines as its Chairman & Managing Director from 2000-2005. Under his leadership, the airline turned profitable after years of incurring losses. He also served as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation during 2000-2002 wherein he played a key role in operationalising the deployment of CISF for security purposes at airports. He was an advisor to Prasar Bharati (India’s public service broadcasting agency) and Director-General & CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.
“Aneesh and the entire team at Gram Unnati have over the years built something truly remarkable…a sustainable and scalable solution to one of the greatest challenges faced by Indian farmers – access to fair markets. It gives me great pleasure and excitement to be a part of this young company’s journey towards a stronger foundation and higher milestones”, said, Sunil Arora.