Provides economic opportunities through domestic activity, makes extraordinary leaders out of Indian women, empowers women by providing them with a respectful income source – this is what Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad has been practicing since its inception in 1959. Let us have a look at the journey of Lijjat Papad.
Crux of the Matter
The Humble Beginnings
Seven Gujarati women with an aim of a creating a sustainable livelihood for their families started the venture of making Papads. They borrowed ₹ 80 from Chhaganbhai Patel (also called Chhagan Bapa), a noted social worker and philanthropist, who later guided the Lijjat Empire too.
The seven women are Jaswantiben Popat, Banuben Tanna, Jayaben Vithalani, Laguben Gokani, Parvatiben Thodani, Ujamben Kundalia, and Diwaliben Lukka.
The System of Co Owners
Lijjat Papad eventually expanded as a cooperative society. Well, the membership was restricted only for women, a policy that stands to date. Men in the cooperative are salaried employees majorly in the roles of accountants, drivers or security guards. Simply put, men are not members/owners in the cooperative society.
A Typical Day Of Lijjat Sisters
1. The working kick starts early in the morning when a group of women start kneading lentil (urad) dough.
2. Another group of women arrive with finished goods which is then tested for quality at the branch laboratory.
3. The second group of women then pick up freshly prepared lentil dough to prepare dry papads at home.
How It Empowers Women
To be a part of Lijjat Group, the only condition is that each women has to abide by the quality norms. Lijjat has welcomed the ‘Work from Home’ methodology long before it was accepted as a working medium in corporate world. The reason was quite straight which was to enable a homemaker to balance her family while earning an alternate income source.
The Glorifying Growth
The business which began with 7 women making 4 packets of papads on their building’s terrace now employs 45000 women across 82 Indian branches with presence in 15 nations. Lijjat Papad’s journey from seed capital of ₹80 in 1959 to ₹800 crore turnover in 2018 is overwhelming to say the least.
Perks Of Being A Lijjat Member
- Women have the freedom to choose their work area.
- Members can become a part of managing committee if selected in elections.
- Seniority in the cooperative society doesn’t matter. Work responsibilities and work output makes the difference.
- Women can apply for educational loans and scholarships for their children.
The Uncompromising Attitude on Quality
- In 2002, the “Businesswoman of the Year” award was given to “The Women Behind Lijjat Papad” at The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence. Lijjat received the “Best Village Industries Institution” award from KVIC for the period 1998–99 to 2000–01.
- Lijjat believes in the philosophy of sarvodaya and collective ownership. Sarvodaya is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘universal uplift’ or ‘progress of all’. The term was used by Mahatma Gandhi as the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin’s tract on political economy, Unto This Last, and Gandhi came to use the term for the ideal of his own political philosophy.
- Lijjat Patrika, the in-house magazine, is published and circulated for a nominal rate to those interested in the activities of Lijjat. It has emerged as a strong mode of communication for information related to significant events and initiatives at Lijjat, in addition to presenting articles on women.