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A Greener Tomorrow

In Focus
NAME:Pradip Kumar Das
POSITION:Chair & Managing Director
LOCATION:Delhi, India
As Chair and Managing Director of the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, Pradip Kumar Das has led a remarkable turnaround, taking it from a legacy company troubled by stagnancy to India's leading pure play green financing NBFC.

The climate emergency becomes ever more pressing as the days tick by. The world’s path toward sustainability is inextricably linked to the commitment to renewable energy. As the globe’s most populous country, and one whose role on the global stage will only grow, the eyes of the world are on India.

By the same token, to achieve an economy that is truly futureproof, nations must focus their energy generation toward renewables. Thus, India’s growth outlook vastly depends on how it amplifies renewable energy generation. At the heart of it all is the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

“For over three decades, Emmvee’s enduring partnership with IREDA has been pivotal to our success. Under Pradip Kumar Das’ leadership, IREDA’s clear vision and commitment to transparency have greatly influenced our operations, aligning seamlessly with Emmvee’s values. His exceptional leadership continues to enhance this relationship, fostering a profound and sustained impact on our joint endeavors.” – Manjunatha D V, CMD, Emmvee Group


Rarely has a public sector undertaking (PSU) been so pivotal to India’s future and yet, it was ailing until very recently. IREDA has come a long way ever since Pradip Kumar Das took over as the Chair and Managing Director during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Before I joined, IREDA’s performance was sliding down for various reasons. On top of regulatory, accounting and balance sheet issues, the pandemic became a critical challenge. So my first purpose and objective was to ensure that it didn’t slide further,” Das tells The CEO Magazine.

Not only did he stop the decline, but he has helped IREDA grasp its true potential.

Hockey Stick Growth

After assuming his role, Das immediately identified four areas that required immediate attention. First, he played to the strengths of his young employees, who formed the majority. He strengthened the appraisal process, empowered them to contribute more and even delivered food to employees working from home during the pandemic.

Next, he focused on implementing corporate governance best practices, including digital ways of working.

“We started proactively monitoring old accounts, integrated all disparate IT platforms into one consolidated platform and automated processes to accelerate digitization,” Das explains.

After that, he tried to shift perspectives within IREDA by placing more importance on borrowers.

“We created a culture of regular interactions with our borrowers. They’re the real stakeholders and we take input from them on new sectoral challenges, the problems they’re facing and how they can be overcome. We also share our concerns and challenges. So it’s a win–win situation.”

“We created a culture of regular interactions with our borrowers. They’re the real stakeholders.”

Das considers the loan book to be the company’s biggest asset. Viewing borrowers on the level of stakeholders and betting on them to improve IREDA has proved to be an invaluable and fruitful strategy.

Finally, his fourth objective was to bring the AAA credit rating to IREDA, which had previously been AA+ rated. The overall improvement in governance, non-performing assets (NPA) reduction and cultural shift has boosted IREDA’s creditworthiness, and the company was assigned a AAA rating in March 2023.

Das managed to convince the Indian government to invest in the PSU, which is rare in the era of disinvestment.

When analyzing the financial fortunes of IREDA over the past five years, the rapid uptick of growth that resembles a hockey stick graph is clear to see. Unsurprisingly, this growth starts to emerge just after the new Chair and Managing Director joined the company.

Switching Roles

Das started his career in the private sector where he was part of the team that oversaw an initial public offering (IPO) launch. Eventually, he moved to the public sector by taking up projects within Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and REC. Before joining IREDA, Das was the Chief Financial Officer at Indian Tourism Development Corporation.

In his 30-year career he sat on both sides of board meetings, learning the ins and outs of corporate governance. It is this wealth of experience that has allowed him to revive IREDA.

“Once you’re promoted to board-level positions, your approach to delivery changes quite a lot because you are the decision-maker. As a director, you’re one of the board members, but the Chair and Managing Director has to steer the ship.”

“This is a sector where the government can invest and get their value returned with a premium.”

According to Das, 26 percent of IREDA’s workforce consists of women and they lead about half of the divisions. He’s also an active promoter of company-wide meditation and yoga for employees.

“When we talk about decarbonizing the world, first we believe we should decarbonize our employees,” he says.

“I believe meditation is a process of decarbonizing our body and mind. Yoga is recreating energy, renewing our energy. If as an organization we do not practice such things, we cannot demand something from others. So in a true sense, we are a renewable energy development organization.”

The clarity in his thoughts and willingness to take drastic decisions also worked in IREDA’s favor during its most critical moment in recent years – the IPO launch.

Road to IPO

A seasoned campaigner, Das oversaw IREDA’s third IPO attempt and led it to success. He did this by focusing on three things: fundamentals, perception and sentiment.

“Our priority was to enhance the capital base. We discussed this with government officials and convinced them that this is a sector where the government can invest and get their value returned with a premium,” he says.


“US$180 million of equity infusion happened in March 2022. That enabled us to raise six to seven times more from the market,” Das explains.

“And again in November 2023 through IPO, we raised fresh equity of 15 percent and the Government of India raised 10 percent. So they got back about US$108 million on what they originally pumped in.”

IREDA shares were issued around US$0.38 but they were listed at US$0.60 on stock exchanges.

A League of its Own

IREDA is peerless in India in both legacy and its market position. As an established non-bank financial company (NBFC) it has a strong loan book and stakeholder relations while being the only PSU fully focused on renewable energy. The closest competitors are REC and Power Finance Corporation, who have about 10 percent of the renewable energy loan book, whereas IREDA is the segment leader in clean energy investment.

On the expansion front, it plans to open a subsidiary office in Gujarat’s GIFT city that will cater to developers working on overseas projects. Das also has his eyes set on green hydrogen.

“The energy requirement of making it a developed economy will be massive, and 90 percent of it has to come from new and renewable sources.”

“We’re envisaging green hydrogen and its derivative space, because India is likely to be the manufacturing and export hub for green hydrogen and its derivatives in the time to come,” he says. “The energy requirement of making it a developed economy will be massive, and 90 percent of it has to come from new and renewable sources.”

India hopes to be a developed economy by 2047, and IREDA plans to work with other government ministries such as labor and agriculture to contribute to these ambitions. However, it’s not without its fair share of challenges. Apart from maintaining book value, IREDA has to address the lack of investment by bilateral agencies such as the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Asian Development Bank in recent times.

“The domestic market is becoming cheaper. So, those agencies who are supposed to handle and support through concessional lending, are not making a mark,” he explains. “This means we have to work out how they can make it truly concessional compared to domestic lending.”

Good Governance

Supporting the renewable energy demands of an economy as large as India is no small task, and it’s one that requires IREDA to expand rapidly.

Das brought much needed speed to the entire process with his ‘three by six’ practice, which allocates three weeks for a takeover loan and six weeks for rest – all to make sure the projects are completed within or before time.

“We are the PSU that publishes the results faster than anybody and we publish a full audit report every quarter,” Das says. “We do not do limited reviews as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India requirements. We do a full audit, we do it fastest and it speaks volumes about our intent.”

Das is proud to have set a benchmark for PSUs to follow in fast and efficient corporate governance. This impact is also visible in IREDA’s supplier relationships as well.

While working at BHEL, Das started referring to vendors as business partners, a tradition he has carried to IREDA.

“Over here my supply is my lender, my demand is my borrower. So two business partners are here and I’m bridging that gap,” he explains. “My bridge should be very strong, based on fundamentals, discipline, culture, transparency and in a trusted environment. We have to keep working on these things again and again.”

“We do not want to become an overnight sensation. We want sustainable growth because we are financing the sustainable sector.”

As IREDA looks for emerging renewable energy solutions, it often comes across cutting-edge prospects marked with uncertainty. For example, where there was concern around an ethanol and compressed biogas project last year, the team went through due diligence and offered appraisal.

Das is spearheading a rejuvenated PSU that holds massive potential for India’s future. For credit lending companies, he believes it’s important to not be speculative – rather believing in oneself and company fundamentals, mitigate risks as much as possible without worrying about the future and focus on managing NPAs.

His people-first and transparent documentation strategies have paid dividends, making IREDA one of the most interesting PSUs to look out for.

In the meantime, Das is focused on achieving steady but permanent growth for IREDA.

“We do not want to become an overnight sensation,” he says. “We want sustainable growth because we are financing the sustainable sector.”

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