Radical changes are always commissioned by few eminent men. These founding fathers foresaw betterment of their fellowmen through ICTs. We salute these thought leaders and introduce to you some of their masterstrokes in field of ICTs in India.
Apj Abdul Kalam
A propounder of fusion of NeGP and RTI, an enthusiast for ICT pnetration, the missile man of India has played a role of a pressure group in the propogation of ICT4D in India. A scientist by profession and a true visionary by nature, Dr. Kalam has been a pioneer in various scientific escapades of his times.
As a Project Director with ISRO, he was the man behind the India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle and also responsible for the evolution of ISRO’s launch vehicle programme. He mooted the idea of India – Africa cooperation in ICT, National Knowledge Network, knowledge connectivity for the rural masses and PURA among several other path-breaking ideas.
One Act which is a milestone in the e-Governance scenario of India is the Right to Information Act (RTI). Like any revolutionary milestone, RTI too has some forces behind it whose struggle has brought it into effect today. The Magsaysay award winner for community leadership and international understanding, Aruna Roy is a social activist and a thought leader whose unabated perseverance has made RTI see the light of the day. Aruna Roy was an officer with the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). But within six years of her work in the Indian bureaucracy she quited her much coveted job to start grassroots activism and joined her husband’s social Work and Research Center in Tilonia, Rajasthan.
If there was one person who was the unofficial brand ambassador of the Information Technology industry of India, it was Dewang Mehta. In his short but eventful career with NASSCOM (premier organisation that represents and sets the tone for public policy for the Indian software industry), he build a global brand equity for the Indian software industry and advocated the increase of software exports. As a member of the National Task Force on IT and Software Development, and the advisor to erstwhile IT Minister – Pramod Mahajan’s advisory group, he was an asset in the true sense for software industry as a whole.
Sam Pitroda is best known to us as the father of telecom revolution in India. He is the man responsible for the mushrooming of PCO telephone booths across India. Although the political lobbyists of those times could not understand the need for a ‘connected India’, he braved such opposition and kept fighting for bridging the digital divide not just across India, but also globally. Dr Sam Pitroda, chairs National Knowledge Commission (NKC), a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India. is working on to guide policy and direct reforms, education, science and technology, agriculture, industry, e-governance. His recommendations at the NKC have been quite revolutionary in nature with long term implications for knowledge society in India.
Called as the father of Indian Space Programme Vikram Sarabhai gave India an international standing in the field of space research. Pioneer of the Indian Spapce programme has to his credit establishment of Indian Space Research Organisation (1969), Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, first indegenous satellite Aryabhata (1975), inter alia, which has laid the foundation stone of the information and communication technology in India. A rare combination of a scientist, industrialist and a thought leader, Sarabhai is the man behind the establishment of many well known institutions of repute in the Indian sub-continent. His role as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India after the sudden death of Homi Bhaba is laudable.