In this section, we present those personalities whose pioneering efforts have helped promote ICT for inclusive development. Their visionary mission has facilitated the transformation of the country towards an IT revolution. In true sense, these are the ICT Pioneers who have built a strong foundation of ICT adoption by the masses.
Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution in India”. He was also the pioneer of the telecentre movement in India which can be traced back to 1998 when the MSSRF started three Village Knowledge Centres in Pondicherry with support from International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Canadian International Development Agency. He lead the Mission 2007 movement which created a huge awareness among the political class to embrace ICTs in their respective ministries and constituencies.
Verghese Kurien is called the father of the White Revolution in India. His professional life has been dedicated to empowering the Indian farmer through cooperatives. He was the chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF). He is recognised as the man behind the success of the Amul brand. The use of Information Communication Technologies in rural areas of Gujarat by GCMMFL has made the operation of the dairy industry different. Amul has become rural India’s flag bearer in the IT revolution.The movement is now replicated in 70,000 villages in about 200 districts of India. The dairy sector already uses computers in 4000 rural locations for processing milk buying/selling transactions in a transparent manner and exposes 50,000 people daily to the benefits of IT.
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was an Indian rags-to-riches business tycoon who founded Reliance Industries in Mumbai. He wanted Reliance to spearhead a communications revolution that would dramatically cut down the cost of connectivity, and propel India into the digital age. His ultimate ambition: To make the cost of a phone call cheaper than that of a post card. It was therefore entirely logical for Reliance to enter the telecommunications space when the sector was opened up for private participation in the 1990s. The Reliance Communications group brought the mobile telephony at very low prices points which significantly improved the mobile penetration to the lower income strata of the society.
Azim Premji, is the Chairman of Wipro, one of the largest software companies in India. Under his leadership Wipro, the fledgling US$2 million hydrogeneted cooking fat company has grown to a US$ 1.76 billion IT services organisation serving customers across the globe. In the year 2001, Premji established Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with a vision of significantly contributing to quality universal education to build a just, equitable and humane society. This foundation has played an exemplary role in propogating ICT for school education in the country.
N. R. Narayana Murthy, is an Indian industrialist, software engineer and one of the seven founders of Infosys Technologies. He set new standards in corporate governance and morality when he stepped down as the Executive Chairman of Infosys at the age of 60. With the liberalisation of Indian economy in 1990s, Infosys grew rapidly. In 1995, Infosys set up development centres across cities in India. He is the person responsible for bringing India on the IT world map. Due to his initiatives the world recongnised India as a super power in the software market.