An Entrepreneur

Born with an entrepreneur instinct, Sminu Jindal always wanted to enter her family’s industry business. She joined Jindal SAW Limited as a management trainee (1 August, 1992 to 30 June 1994) in one of its loss-making factories when she was 19. Then, she was promoted as Executive- Corporate Planning (1 July 1994 to 31 March 1995).

Convinced with her desire to be a businesswoman, her father assigned her an independent charge of Sawstik Foils Division as its Chief Executive (1 April, 1995 to 31 August 1997). It was a litmus test for her as the division was in loss. She took this as an opportunity to prove her mettle, and successfully brought the division to the shores of profit. 

As a result of this turnaround, she was appointed as the Whole Time Director of Jindal SAW Limited (1 September 1997 to 31 January 2001), and finally became its Managing Director on 1 February 2001 which she still continues.

Soon after her wedding with Mr. Indresh Batra in 2001, she along with her husband went to Houston, USA to head Jindal SAW’s unit there. Working in an alien atmosphere was tough but she managed the operations well and turned around the loss making unit.

The factory was being run by “tough guys who were in a country facing a hard time”, she says (it was soon after 9/11). “Here was a young Indian woman in a wheelchair who was going to tell them what to do. The overall attitude was: What does she know?” To this, Ms. Jindal notes, “... People’s traditional perception of leadership was challenged; this led to daily obstacles with management, which led to some of the senior leaders constantly testing my decision making. Such incidents created the need in me to learn about the relationship between equal opportunity and accessibility.”

She’s known to be vocal about rights for the people with reduced mobility and those with disabilities. In 2008, she spoke out against one of India’s biggest airlines, Jet Airways (ceased to exist in 2019), which had tried to force her to sign an indemnity bond before taking a flight. The airline had to apologise later, but she did not let go this event and made it a point to work towards accessible infrastructure and transportation systems for all, so that everyone can use public services with equal ease, safety and dignity.

When Sminu Jindal became the Managing Director of the pipe manufacturer company in 2001, Jindal SAW Limited had a turnover of around Rs. 400 crore. Her resilience has helped Jindal SAW's turnover rise from Rs 400 crore to Rs 1000 crore. She pursued expansion strategies such as investing $600 million to buy stakes in firms in West Asia, the U.S., and the European Union.

Ms. Jindal has also helped the company venture into new business areas other than pipes including urban development and domestic transport and logistics among others under the company's subsidiary Jndal ITF (JITF). Under her leadership, JITF is laying a strong foundation for a secure and sustainable future. The subsidiary is running India’s leading and most efficient Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plant in Delhi, generating 21 MW energy having consumed 4 MMT of municipal waste in the last six years alone. Also, it has additionally been awarded 8 waste management projects in different parts of India, including Andhra Pradesh (3), Punjab (1), Rajasthan (2), Gujarat (1) and Delhi (1) which are under different stages of construction. 

Jindal also leads another robust nation-building vertical, the Jindal Rail Infrastructure, which manufactures rail wagons at the plant located in the Indian state of Gujarat. The plant is one of the largest suppliers for all types of Broad Gauge Freight Cars to Indian Railways and Private Sector; the only Freight Car manufacturer in India to have successfully developed and manufactured Special-Purpose Freight Cars for transportation of 260 meters long welded rail panels in 5 tiers, also successfully designed and developed Freight Cars suitable for tippling operation using a combination of rotary and fixed couplers – Gondola Cars for Export Market (Cape Gauge, Africa).


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