Biography of Telecommunication innovator Sam Pitroda
Adviser to the Prime Minister of India
on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations
Sam Pitroda is a leading campaigner for bridging the global digital divide, and
was appointed one of the founding Commissioners of the Broadband Commission for
Digital Development from its launch in May 2010 by ITU and the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
An internationally respected development thinker, policy-maker,
telecommunications inventor and entrepreneur, he was instrumental in laying the
foundation of India's technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s.
In 2005-2009, Mr Pitroda chaired India's National Knowledge Commission. This
advisory body to the Prime Minister was set up to provide a blueprint for reform
of the knowledge-related institutions and infrastructure in the country, to meet
the challenges of the 21st century.
Mr Pitroda is currently Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public
Information Infrastructure and Innovations, and chairs the country's National
Innovation Council and the Smart Grid Task Force set up under the aegis of the
Ministry of Power. He also heads the Expert Committee on the use of ICT in
During the 1980s, as Adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Pitroda helped
revolutionize India's development policies and philosophies, focusing on access
to technology as the key to social change. He headed six widely diverse
technology missions. These related to telecommunications, water, literacy,
immunization, dairy and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first Chairman of
India's Telecom Commission.
He holds almost 100 worldwide patents, and has published and lectured widely in
the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia.