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You are here: 2008 Sam Pitroda, Recipient

Sam Pitroda, Award Recipient (2008)

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Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur who has spent 40 years in Information and Communications Technology and related human and national developments. His experiences include private and public sectors and governments around the world.

Credited with having laid the foundation for and ushered India's technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the digital divide. During his tenure as Advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s Mr. Pitroda headed six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization Dairy and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first chairman of India's Telecom Commission.

Currently he is chairman of India's National Knowledge Commission reporting to the Prime Minister. The commission's mandate is to offer a series of recommendations to the government on access, concepts, creation, application and services related to knowledge to help build excellence in the education system to meet the challenges of the 21st century and increase India's competitive advantage.

He owns close to a 100 patents. He is widely regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of hand held computing because of his invention of the Electronic Diary in 1975. He was also among the pioneers in digital telephone switching technology in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The decade of 1990 saw Pitroda explore the world of mobile phone based transaction technology and telecom developments in emerging markets.

A widely traveled man, Pitroda is a much sought after speaker at top international events. He has had speaking engagements around the world on diverse themes.

Pitroda divides time between Chicago and New Delhi.