Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, policymaker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur, who has spent over four decades in Information and Communications Technology and related human and national developments initiatives.
Credited with having laid the foundation of India’s technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide.
During his tenure as Adviser 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. In these roles, he helped revolutionize India’s development policies and philosophies with a focus on access to technology as the key to social change.
Mr. Pitroda was Chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission (2005-2009), an advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, set up to provide a blueprint for reform of the knowledge related institutions and infrastructure in the country. The Commission has offered a series of recommendations on various aspects of the knowledge paradigm to help India meet the challenges of the 21st century.
He was most recently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and has undertaken the ambitious task of providing a plan for creating digital infrastructure in the country for enhancing governance and improving delivery of public services. He was also the Chairman of the National Innovation Council (NInC) which is working on several initiatives to boost innovation performance in the country. Mr. Pitroda also headed the Expert Group for Modernization of Indian Railways constituted by the Ministry of Railways. He was also the Chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Power, Government of India. He has also been appointed one of the founding Commissioners of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
He holds close to 100 worldwide patents and has published and lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia.