Everyone enjoys the story where the protagonist rises from rags to riches. Here is the story of seven protagonists who not only changed their lives but also influenced thousands of others to do the same. The story is about Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad popularly known as Lijjat papad.
The 1990s most popular snack of every Indian household, Lijjat papad was started by 7 ladies in South Mumbai. This Indian women’s cooperative was founded way back on 15th March 1959 with a seed capital of only Rs. 80. These seven ladies decided to make and sell papads in their free time and their first earning was only 50 paise which now has a turnover of 3 billion and exports worth Rs. 100 million. It currently employee over 42,000 people in 62 divisions all over the country. This Indian women’s cooperative involved in the manufacturing of various fast-moving consumers goods, currently presided by Swati Paradkar.
The objective of this institution is to provide employment to the ladies and enable them to earn a decent and dignified livelihood. This organization was found by women, for women. Its goal is to not only make a profit but also to ensure that all get the fruits of labour. Here are some basic concepts and rules of the organization.
- The concept of business: Production of quality goods at reasonable prices.
- The concept of family: Mutual family affection, concern and trust.
- The concept of devotion: ‘Work is Worship’.
Till day, this institute has produces 4.2 billion papads. It is fascinating, to say the least, that they haven’t employed a single machine in the process. Yes, all the papads are hand made by employees. Saying employees would be wrong because there is no single owner for this cooperative. The papad making process designed in such a way where Lijjat sisters ( employees cum owners) can roll the papad at their own homes at their time of convenience. Dough for the papad is kneaded at the Centre where quality is assured and checked regularly. Lijjat sisters take their share of dough for the day and deposit the papads made a day before. The payment for their labour is done every week to keep the accounting simple and transparent.
The institute has not only earned a firm footing in the business world but also has a name for itself by receiving many awards along the way. The Economic times Award given to the institution for corporate excellence “Businesswoman of the Year” on 6th Sept 2002. The institution has received an award from Khadi & Village Industries Commission as “Best Village Industry Institution ” award from the former Hon. Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 1999, the Mumbai city felicitated Smt. Rukiniben B. Pawar, Lijjit President, as an outstanding woman in the field of social work.
Even in the field of corporate social responsibility, the institute is not left behind. The co-operative movement began by Lijjat papad contributed greatly in women empowerment. They also concentrate on educating their Lijjat sister regularly. But the future is uncertain for them due to advancement in technology, automation and process orientation. So next time you come across Lijjat products while shopping, do consider buying them and supporting this cooperative.