Shri Kantisen C. Shroff, born on 3rd January 1923, is the youngest of five brothers who initiated an industrial venture in 1941 which flourished today after 75 years, into a conglomerate of businesses to be recognized as an exemplary business house with unique characteristics.
The nationalistic spirit of the founders made them work on import substitution as the foremost criteria in choosing businesses. The expertise the developed in complex and hazardous chemical processes and indigenous equipment design to produce many products never made before in India. The company, Excel Industries Limited, won many awards and recognitions for the achievements. Shri Kantisen Shroff and his elder brother Late Shri Champaraj Shroff demonstrated to the Indian chemical industry that with simple processes, simple equipment's and wisdom of our people, anything which can be made elsewhere in the world, can also be made in India.
Being a pioneer in the Indian chemical industry is only a part introduction of Shri Kantisen Shroff. Even far-reaching in terms of its impact on India’s environmental progress is his contribution to rural development and cadre building for the same. While Mr. Shroff was creating his succession at Excel Industries after 25 years (1945 to 1970) of his tenure and during the 25 years (1970 to 1995), he was also working on creating a canvas for his next venture. The borders of the canvas, as he himself described many times, were “+30 degrees of the equator to -30 degrees of the equator”. He convincingly believed that the belt around the earth which has abundant sunlight, water, and land, is going to provide a solution to many problems of mankind. The relationship of the five elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) and the cycle of the seasons is what one has to understand to become a part of nature's handiwork. This has remained the core of his work in the last 35-40 years. This is astonishingly reflected in the business strategies of Excel Industries. Excel group of company's works in agrochemicals, drip irrigation, bioproducts for agriculture, soil health management, and seeds. A company branched out for agriculture-related products and services (Excel Crop Care Limited) has the motto “Behind every farmer, Beyond crop care”.
Sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources is a subject very dear to him. To learn, experiment, and create multipliable models of land development, water harvesting and management, skill development, drought management, cattle management, social forestry, integrated village wealth generation, Mr. Shroff initiated work with Vivekananda Research and Training Institute at Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat in 1975. Another underlying and very far-reaching goal of VRTI was to build a large cadre of devoted and knowledgeable people who now are giving shape to his dream of self-reliant rural India.
It was due to his initiative that when severe cyclones struck Kutch successively in 1998 and 1999, he brought together about 14 active NGOs working in Kutch and formed a federal organization of NGOs called Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan (or ABHIYAN for short), with a view to generate a collective response to the natural calamities and effectively work towards the rehabilitation of the affected areas.
Thanks to his foresight of creating ABHIYAN that when the unprecedented Earthquake of 26th January 2001 devastated most parts of Kutch, the member NGOs of ABHIYAN responded spontaneously and were in the forefront to reach out for rescue and relief operations, and have now been attending to the rehabilitation and rebuilding programs in Kutch. The valiant efforts of ABHIYAN have been recognized by the government and many donor agencies, and ABHIYAN is regarded as an effective and credible organization to partner within the tasks ahead. The essence of all the learnings in the last 30 years is being used on a large scale at the Rukmavati River Basin Management project to provide an integrated and holistic solution for economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Since 2013, Mr. K C Shroff has taken to spending a large portion of his time pursuing painting and sketching. Constant learning, an open mind, and faith in human endeavor keep him very optimistic and full of positive energy all the time.
Awards & Recognitions:
During his tenure as the Managing Director, Excel was adjudged for some of the prestigious awards such as The Economic Times-Harvard Business School Award and Best Corporate Citizen Award of Bombay Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Under his guidance the Company has been practicing very strict ethical business practices, in recognition of which it was conferred the "]amnalal Bajaj Fair Business Practices Award".
He has been conferred the: “Lifetime Achievement Award" by ChemExcil in 2011, for his contribution to the development and growth of the Indian Chemical Industry.
He was the first recipient of the “environmentalist of the year: 1983“Award instituted by the CHEMTECH Foundation — in recognition of his pioneering work on environmental issues.
He was chosen as ’MAN OF THE YEAR’ for 1995 by “THE WEEK” magazine of Malayala Manorama.
He has left the body on 13th May 2021.