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June 25, 2016 | posted in Awards | posted by : Manappuram Finance
By V. P. Nandakumar

From 2002 onwards, every year in the month of June, Manappuram has been commemorating its founder, my father late V.C. Padmanabhan. In the initial years, the programme involved a lecture delivered by an eminent personality drawn from business, government or the academic world.
Over the years, we have had stalwarts like Prof. Debashis Chatterjee (Director, IIM-K), Dr. V.A. Joseph (MD and CEO, South Indian Bank Ltd., Thrissur), Shri. P.C. Cyriac, IAS - Rtd. (Chairman, Federal Bank Ltd., Aluva) and Shri V.K. Mathews (MD, IBS Software Services Pvt. Ltd.) to deliver the lecture before a select, invited audience. This year’s lecture was delivered by Shri P.N. Vasudevan, MD of Equitas Holdings Ltd., the man behind Equitas Microfinance who spoke on the topic of “Microfinance and Poverty Alleviation”.
Later, in 2010, we instituted the annual V.C. Padmanabhan Memorial Awards for Excellence to honour distinguished personalities for their outstanding contributions to society. Over the last six years, these awards have acquired prestige and become an important event in the calendar. Prominent personalities who have accepted the awards in previous years include Dr. E. Sreedharan (MD, Delhi Metro), Shri Vinod Rai (Former CAG), Shri M. Damodaran (Former Chairman, SEBI), Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (renowned musician) and Shri Adoor Gopalakrishnan (internationally acclaimed film director).  
This year’s awards carried a cash prize of Rs.2 lakhs and a bronze plaque.  Prominent winners for 2016 included the eminent Malayalam novelist and screenplay writer Padma Bhushan M.T. Vasudevan Nair, the noted environmentalist Padma Shri Dr. Sunita Narain, and former Union Minister and Member of Parliament Prof. K.V. Thomas.
Why Manappuram cherishes the memory of its founder so much is worth an explanation. A casual reading of the Manappuram story will tell you that my father started the business in 1949 and managed it till 1986, when he passed away. At the time, Manappuram was a single branch business located in Valapad. Today, we have a presence across India with 3,747 branches spanning 28 states and UTs.
What these numbers don’t tell you is that even as Manappuram remained a single branch outfit, my father had built up enormous goodwill for the business among the local people who trusted him fully with their hard earned money. And, it is a testament to his integrity, that he was one of the select few from the business community of this area who paid his income tax religiously in the seventies and eighties. Integrity, to him, was a way of life.
After I took over, I was lucky that India began its liberalisation in 1991. It presented opportunities to me that were just not available to an earlier generation of ethical, law abiding entrepreneurs. After taking over, I decided to expand the business. I was able to tap into this reservoir of goodwill and take advantage of the much improved business climate. And so, when I promoted Manappuram Finance Ltd. in 1992, much of the initial capital came from the local people who instinctively trusted the name “Manappuram” and did not hesitate to invest their hard earned savings.
That’s why, even as Manappuram has grown into a national presence with an international footprint (in terms of our investors), we never forget that we owe it all to the vision and values of our Founder, and that legacy of goodwill left behind by him that was the real fortune I inherited.
And these awards are a reminder of our Founder’s commitment to excellence of which we are the beneficiaries. We have chosen to express our gratitude to our founder by recognising excellence in public personalities from which society as a whole has gained. 
Incidentally, my father passed away in 1986 and this year marks his 30th death anniversary.

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