Sam Pitroda Biography
“The father of India’s communication revolution”, Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, or Dr Sam Pitroda as he is better known, was born in Titlagarh, Orissa in 1942. Dr. Pitroda is presently the chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission, besides being the Chairman and CEO of World-Tel Limited and the founder and CEO of C-SAM, Inc. He also worked as an advisor to the United Nations in 1992.
His parents had migrated to Orissa from Gujarat. They were deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy. Sam completed his Masters in Physics and Electronics from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara, following which he went to the United States to do a Masters in Electrical Engineering. He has many technology patents to his name and was involved in research work on telecommunications and handheld computing. He introduced microprocessors in telephone switches leading to digital switching and invented the Electronic Diary in 1975.
He designed his own computer-themed card game called Compucards in 1983. He returned to India in 1984 on the advice of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi and founded the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT). In 1987, he became advisor to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and was responsible for revolutionizing India’s foreign and domestic telecommunications policies. He is widely known as the brain behind the introduction of the Public Call Offices (PCO) across the length and breadth of the country.
He left the country once again after a spat with K.P. Unnikrishnan, the Minister for Telecommunication in the V.P. Singh government. The present UPA government at the Centre constituted the National Knowledge Commission, of which Mr.Pitroda is the Chairman.