Born to Shri Rudrappa and Smt Sushilamma - a legacy of farmers, at Basav Hanchal in Biligi taluk of Bagalkot district, Murugesh Nirani considers himself first as a child of the soil. Murugesh Nirani, also known as Murugesh Rudrappa Nirani, is a Third-term Member of the Legislative Assembly of Bilgi, Bagalkot, currently serving as the Minister of Mines and Geology in the Government of Karnataka. One of the foremost engineers from his village, he went on to pursue B.E in civil engineering followed by a diploma in Business Management from Bombay University. Despite his remarkable academic and political career, he went on to pursue his true calling - agriculture.
From having witnessed many difficulties in the farming sector, he had first-hand knowledge and experience of what areas needed intervention and change. Mr Nirani’s inherent alignment with the ideologies of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from a very young age, helped him champion several causes for the society, especially the farmers. With active participation in RSS’s activities, he pledged to better the lives of the agriculture fraternity. And in this pursuit, he first wanted to address the bitterness that festered in the sugar industry.
Despite the enormity of the sugar industry, with thousands of farmers and families dependent on it, it was dying. In the entirety of Bagalkot district, there used to be only ONE sugar mill which could, at best, support the harvesting of 30% of the entire sugarcane produce. What’s worse, Mr Nirani’s own sugarcane suffered immensely, owing to the same scarcity, thereby leaving an entire year’s worth of produce to go to waste.
Looking at the plight of sugarcane farmers, Murugesh Nirani decided to intervene and make a difference - especially at a time when no one could muster the courage to see the potential of the sugar industry, Mr Nirani took the responsibility of reviving the sugar industry - as he firmly believed in its far-reaching impact for all that were involved - the livelihood of thousands of farmers, creation of thousands of employment opportunities, revenue for the government. With laser-like focus, he set out to be the change that he wanted to see; a positive change in the lives of his brotherhood of farmers and their families.
While Mr Nirani was aware that this journey wouldn’t be a bed of roses, he had little inkling of how stormy it was about to get.
At the first revelation of installing a sugar factory in Bagalkot, his parents vehemently opposed the idea and even ousted him from their household. But his spirit remained unshaken. His undying urge to help the farmers fuelled his fire to set up the mill - of a capacity of crushing 500 tonnes of sugarcane per day. Gradually, the industry began to grow much against all speculations.
Mr Nirani continued to emulate all of RSS’s ideologies, and actively involved himself in developing BJP in North Karnataka, right from grassroots levels. After seeing his consistent and diligent efforts, at the age of 32, he was given the ticket for MLA election in a constituency that was at the time the most backward according to the reports of the Nanjundappa committee. With no former existence of BJP there, his popularity and reach among the masses nudged BJP to take the leap of faith in him, to field him for the most difficult constituency - Bilagi, where, out of the 2 lakh population, his community consisted only of 6000 votes. However, the seeds of his hard-work, sown with his indefatigable love to serve his land and brotherhood, reaped warmth and support when he needed the most.
From youngsters to the old, everyone came in support of him, thereby making him win with a landslide victory.
He went on to setting up the constituency in a holistic fashion - following the ideologies of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishanaja Wadiyar: who helped develop across all fields such as education, infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, banking, agriculture, et al.
Mr Nirani’s consistent efforts were recognized and his victory in the second election seemed only like it was obvious. In the foremost majority government of BJP in Karnataka, young Mr Nirani was elevated to the cabinet rank and was made the Minister of large and medium scale industries - one of the most coveted cabinet profiles, where he went on to achieve beyond expectations, his vision to make Karnataka an industrial hub through various policy upgrades and organising various investor forums where a total of 12 lakh crores worth of investments from large corporates from across the globe was signed helping create jobs to lakhs of young people, not forgetting the revenue boost the state achieved. His success in handling the portfolio was much appreciated by the then Hon’ble CM of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi where Mr Nirani was called to be part of the most successful Vibrant Gujarat Forums. The Nanjundappa report, which formerly called Bilagi as one of the most backward, witnessed an unprecedented rise - to the top 5 constituencies within 5 years.
With several initiatives to drive his mission forward and help people lead more meaningful lives, His deep-rooted faith in environmentally sustainable efforts, in line with Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Biofuel policy, has driven him to champion the vision of making India an Atma Nirbhar Bharat - a country that is energy-efficient and is self-dependent on alternative fuels. At a time when the world needs to awaken to the climate crisis, Mr Nirani through his venture is transforming public and agricultural waste to wealth, in the form of fuel. Today, his venture is the largest producer of ethanol - that caters as an alternative to not only vehicular fuel but also to the aviation and maritime sectors.
Only because Mr Nirani chose to look past the loss-making phase of the sugar industry when no one could, today over 1,20,000 farmers’ families are happily dependent on the infrastructure created by him and over 72,000 people are employed by the MRN Group.
Murugesh Nirani continues to innovate, lead and drive the change. One amongst many such initiatives of his is the MRN Foundation Trust - a non-profit and non-government organization established to cater to healthcare, skill development, arts, and culture of the rural communities. Through this, he continues to secure the lives of many rural communities, provide self-employment opportunities and help preserve and promote the indigenous arts and culture.
He pursued excellence, regardless of apparent hardships. He withstood losses because he envisioned long-term and sustainable profits. His promises stem from experiential learnings, and his life is a living example of ‘been there, lived it and done that!’
At 53, his passion to serve the global family is stronger than ever. He firmly believes in the collective power of a unified community - that which, thinks together and thrives together, or in other words, “Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas.”
A compassionate human being, an unstoppable force, a resilient leader, and a necessary change-maker, Mr Murugesh Nirani reinstates our faith in acche din, for he makes vasudhaiva kutumbakam, possible.