The decentralized power model of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog has withstood all tests. In fact it can be said for a fact that the organization would have never been such a success if it had centralized production. All decisions in all branches depend on consensus among the members. When it comes to profit sharing, the 21 member managing committee decides about the profit distribution. Generally, gold coins (of equal weight) are distributed amongst all Lijjat sisters, irrespective of their role or seniority.
The Papad making process has remained the same in all branches, through all these years. A group of women reaches the place of work to knead the dough in the morning. Another group of women comes to collect this dough from the collection window, while also handing over their previous day’s Papads at the deposit window. They take the dough to roll more Papads during the day, while the Papads of the previous day are sent for quality checks. The tested Papads are then packed by another team.
There are machines in the current times to roll and make Papads, but Lijjat Papad stays true to its vision of empowering women to earn a living. While related activities like accounts, etc. are done using modern computers, there is no machinery involved in the production, everything is manual.
The sourcing of raw materials follows a very stringent policy, and the heeng (asafoetida), kali mirch (black pepper) and urad daal are all procured from specified sources. The specific raw material and the standardized process of making Papads ensure that the quality, size, shapes and taste of Papads made in all branches is the same.
Trust Lijjat to be not just a business organization, but an organization that promotes and practices a certain way of life! Every day, members of Lijjat Papad in all branches first recite an all-religion prayer before they begin their daily activities. They are free to choose their activities in the organization and leaving the organization is voluntary.
There is no caste or religion prejudice here and no member is asked to leave unless she does something that is against the organizational principles. Besides, there is no retirement age specified here. Once, Jyoti Naik, the former president of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, was questioned about this, and she replied that at Lijjat, the emphasis was only on earning a livelihood through daily work, and that did not require any provision for retirement age.
This organization, besides being the homegrown unicorn of India, is also one of the oldest cooperatives in India that supports women. The profit sharing model of Lijjad Papads also fosters unity and accountability among the Lijjat sisters.
There is even an in-house magazine, Lijjat Patrika, which is published and circulated amongst those interested in the activities of Lijjat, at a nominal rate. The magazine is published in Hindi, English, Marathi, and Gujarati. Besides carrying articles about women, the magazine is also an excellent mode of communicating about events and initiatives at Lijjat.
Think Papad, and the first and probably the only name that springs up in your mind is Lijjat! Whether it is TV commercials, trade fairs, exhibitions, grocery stores or swanky malls- you will find Lijjat Papad everywhere! The ‘kurram kurram’ jingle is timeless, and the muppet bunny of the 1990s ad campaign of Lijjat Papad is still fresh in the memory of many.
Consistent good quality has been the USP of Lijjat Papad. If there is something that can bring the entire country to an uncontested agreement, it is the fact that Lijjat Papads are as tasty as they always were, and the quality of Lijjat Papads remains the same. The cooperative that announces boldly “Symbol of Woman’s Strength” is truly a baton bearer of a movement of women’s empowerment.
Wishing the indigenous unicorn of our country many more decades and centuries of success and may it continue to be an inspiring role model for many such unicorns.