In the journey of life, one who does whatever he wants to do, with patience and hard work, is bound to be successful, happy and content. Prashant Ugemuge certainly fits the profile. He started his career in 1992 with a sales job, even before the result of his final year engineering exam was out. From being a sales executive to becoming the chief promoter of Vidarbha Infotech Pvt Ltd and the owner of Highland Park and IT park in Nagpur, Prashant has come a long way. Hes known for his chilled out attitude and least complicated approach towards life in the business circles of Nagpur. In an hour-long interview with Nation Next, Prashant Ugemuge opens up about his struggle and his love for the three pillars of his life – his wife Jyotsna and his two sons – Shreyas and Karthik.
You come from Vadner in Wardha district, where your parents worked as schoolteachers. Your mother left her job to raise you and your siblings. How was your childhood like?
I had a typical childhood of a village boy. My mother would motivate us by narrating various motivational stories. My parents focused on good upbringing of ours and most importantly, gave us good education. They taught us to be good human beings.
You once said that your father was very strict and you owe your success to his strictness. Do you think today’s generation is being served everything on the platter?
Yes, it’s true, but in my case, it’s the other way round! While my elder son Shreyas, who is in Florida for his engineering, is cool, my younger son Karthik, who is still in school, is a bit too strict with me. He doesn’t approve of my careless and fun-loving approach towards life. Hes extremely disciplined and organised.
You hold an engineering degree in electronics from Amravati University and an MBA degree in finance and marketing. You started your career as a sales executive. How did you become an entrepreneur?
I never planned anything in my life. I would never worry about my engineering even then. The only things I plan are my personal commitments. Like after your interview, I plan to enjoy a couple of chilled beers with my friends! (Laughs)
Surprisingly, you have been vocal about your vices i.e. love for gambling, alcohol, etc. Aren’t you bothered about your reputation?
I’m highly bothered about my reputation, especially as a father. But if you talk about my personal choices, I’m bothered about my reputation only in my eyes. If I feel I’m a good person, I believe I’m a good person. I’m basically a content man.
You worked part time as a photographer to fund yourself during your college days. Are you still passionate about photography?
I am not passionate about anything. I only live for the moment. As we had a limited source of income, my parents started using their bath soap every alternate day to fend for the expenses incurred on my education. I always had the guilt that I was bothering my parents with the financial burden of my education, so I started pursuing photography in the third year of my college. I clicked pictures of our colleges annual gathering. My fellow students were keen on buying the pictures of our female batchmates as they, being less in numbers, were very popular. I grabbed the opportunity and earned some quick money!
After working in a cellular company in Mumbai, why did you relocate to Nagpur?
I think initially, I was allergic to Mumbai. I couldn’t cope up with the fast life there, so I relocated to Nagpur. But now things have changed and so has my approach towards big cities. Many of our businesses are being driven from Mumbai these days.
You worked with Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on developing software and online system for Octroi, which was previously being managed manually. You also developed similar Octroi systems for Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC)…
It was quite an interesting experience for me. Because of the automation of the octroi system, speed and transparency came in. Working with BMC was a sort of an eye opener for me. I found it to be the only corporation, where most of the employees loved their job, and their priority was the wellbeing of the organisation. I realised that contrary to the public opinion, only 10% of the babus are corrupt in NMC. As the hierarchy goes up, corruption decreases.
Your detractors accuse you of leveraging your proximity with certain bureaucrats and politicians to manipulate the system to bag projects and make quick money?
Whats wrong with that? I don’t mix business with friendship. If I have some business issues with a person who’s also my friend, I won’t alter my friendship with him. There’s nothing wrong in talking help from friends, unless it’s illegitimate.
While there is a perception that businessmen fuel corruption, business community claims to be the victims of the corrupt system. As a businessman, who has dealt with the organisations like NMC and NIT, where corruption is very prevalent, how do you perceive this
It is all about an individuals choice, perception and patience level. Our company (Vidarbha Infotech Pvt Ltd) is known across all the corporations as the one, which never bribes. Our files go through all the required checks; and this process takes at least, 10 days for the payments to be released. If somebody doesn’t have the patience to wait for 10 days, he will pay bribes.
I’ve a simple business philosophy; I never evade taxes or do anything that troubles my conscience or comfort in life.
You bought Highland Park a couple of years back. How do you plan to revive this loss-making amusement park
I love challenges. I know my business and have my calculations in place. Highland Park is the only place, so near the city and bang on the highway, where you have a lake and a hill. We would soon be offering destination wedding facility and family entertainment zone there. Innovation is always needed for any business to flourish.
Please tell us about the IT Park you are making.
It’s basically a DBOOT? project (Design, Build, Own, Operate and Transfer) with Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT). We are soon coming up with three projects – core IT Park, convention centre, and service apartments. Another upcoming project of ours is at Saoner where a person can enjoy nature closely. It’s designed on the lines of Jindal Naturecare Institute, along with a resort, which would have 101 service apartments.
Your wife Jyotsna majorly owns most of your businesses Do you believe in lady luck
The logic behind making my wife the majority stakeholder is that if something happens to me, my wife should not wander for help. She should be independent and aware of my businesses.
After making a humble beginning, you’ve made it big in life. Whats your success mantra?
My employees! They don’t feel they are working for my company. Rather they feel they are working for themselves. They have a feeling of ownership. My priority is to give delightful experiences to the customers of all of my businesses. I’m a content man, as I don’t have an agenda of amassing wealth for my kids.
How practical is this in a world, where parents are obsessed with accumulating wealth for their kids?
Thankfully, my parents gave me a good upbringing and made me realise the importance of education. When I look at the people around me, I think nobody is wealthier than me, as nobodys as carefree as I am. I’m not indebted to a single person. I’m fearless because I feel I don’t have anything to lose. I have secured my familys future financially, so they don’t need to work hard for their livelihood. They can pursue what they want to. But I don’t want to leave 100 crores behind (for my kids) as it may make my 22-year-old son aimless!
RMBRCN celebrates Charter Presentation & Installation, Rina Sinha becomes Charter President
The Rotary Means Business chapter of Rotary Club Of Nagpur (RMBRCN) celebrated their Charter Presentation and Installation of Board on September 17, 2023 in a crisp official ceremony at Hotel Centre Point, Nagpur.
Rotary Means Business encourages Rotarians to support the success of their fellow Rotarians by doing business with them and by referring others to them.
Charter President Past President Rtn Rina Sinha presided over the ceremony. Renowned entrepreneur and Rotarian Aspi Bapuna, Chairman of Bapuna Group, was the Chief Guest and Rtn Namita Sharma, President of RCN, was the Guest of Honour.
The Board of Directors of RMBRCN include Rtn Navneet Jain, Vice President, Rtn Mohammed Master, Honorary Secretary, Rtn Sanjay Aggarwal Treasurer, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia Director Chapter Service, Rtn Rahul Shrivastava, Director Vocational Service, Dr Ruchi Choudhry, Director Membership Development, Ranjana Duseja, Director Attendance.
Past Rotary District Governor (PDG) Shabbir Shakir, Past Presidents- Bharat Goenka , Khushnoor Chugh, Sanjiv Chugh, Akhtar Parvez, Tejinder Singh Rawal, Alok Goenka, Jerestine Watchmaker, Sandeep Dhodapkar, Sanjay Arora, President RMB Nagpur, and Behram Patel and Amitabh Sinha were present.
President Rina Sinha informed that within a short period of its formation already 48 members representing various businesses have joined the chapter and the numbers are increasing . The Chapter has already crossed 5 crores of business amongst their members and RMB will further strengthen Rotary in membership growth and retention .
Chief Guest Rtn Aspi Bapuna lauded the chapter’s success and reiterated that its comfortable and safe to do business among fellow rotarians as all follow the Four Way Test of Rotary. Jerestine introduced President Rina. Aspi Bapuna presented the charter and installed President Rina Sinha . Rtn Namita congratulated the RMB chapter and informed that this is the new initiative at RCN.The Board was installed by Rina Sinha and all members were installed by the Past Presidents. An exclusive digital Monthly Magazine ‘Growth Engine’ was launched by Editor Niharika Chugh Vali.
Navneet Jain and Rahul Choudhry conducted the referral and thank you session where enthusiastic members informed about their successful business details. Nishchay Sinha launched the social media and MYRMB app which connects members to other chapters digitally, Treasurer Sanjay Agarwal gave treasurers report, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia managed the event. Rtn Parag Datey and Niharika were the Masters of Ceremony (MOCs). Secretary Mohammed Master proposed the formal Vote of Thanks .
Nitin Gadkari inaugurates double-decker electric bus availed for senior citizens in Nagpur
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday, inaugurated the double-decker electric bus designed for senior citizens in Nagpur. The initiative has been undertaken in association with Ashok Leyland’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee and Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan.
Executive President of Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan Datta Meghe, Vice Chairman of Ashok Leyland Limited Yash Sachar, CEO of Switch Mobility Mahesh Babu, and other dignitaries were present during the inauguration.
“I am very thankful to Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm ‘Switch Mobility’ for donating an electric bus for our senior citizens. The bus can hold a capacity of 65 people and will benefit a lot to disabled and senior citizens,” Gadkari said.
“We already have a green Electra bus available to us for the past five to six years. Krishna Reddy has taken the responsibility of repairing and providing air-conditioning to the bus, moreover, he is providing us with one additional bus. A Tata Motor bus will be arriving this month as well, giving us a total of four buses to operate. This will solve the issue of waiting list due to the lack of buses for senior citizens in the city.” he added.
With the help of these buses, senior citizens can avail the benefit of free trips to religious places like Ambhora, Adasa, Shegaon, Mahur, Dhapewada, and Kalamb.
Nagpur: Married man accused of girlfriend’s rape commits suicide on Facebook live
A 38-year-old married man named Manish alias Raj Yadav, on Sunday, committed suicide during a Facebook live-stream after allegedly being accused of rape by his girlfriend and her family in Nagpur.
During the live stream, Manish, who was married and a father to three children, stated that his 19-year-old girlfriend, Kajal, along with her family members demanded a sum of five lakh rupees and threatened to press charges of rape if he failed to do so.
On September 6, the situation became grave as the woman’s family accused him of eloping after Kajal went missing from her residence.
The deceased refused the claims of having any sexual relationship with the woman and identified her, her family, and a photo studio operator responsible for his condition. He, then, jumped into the river.
After the live video surfaced online, Kalamna Police launched a search operation and recovered the deceased’s body from the river. Four people have been detained in the case for questioning. Further investigation is underway.