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Award for Public Service in the Field of Telecommunications 2007 - Sam Pitroda

"For exceptional contributions in developing indigenous systems and telecommunications infrastructure in India."

Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur who has spent 40 years in Information and Communications Technology and related human and national developments. His experiences include working in the private and public sectors and working with governments around the world.  A reputation built from many years of work, Sam Pitroda brings enormous professional weight and credibility to his projects and operations.

Credited with having laid the foundation for and ushered India’s technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the digital divide.  During his tenure as Advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s Mr. Pitroda headed six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy and oil seeds. And, he was also the founder and first chairman of India’s Telecom Commission.

Currently, Mr. Pitroda is chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission which reports directly to the Prime Minister. The commission’s mandate is to offer a series of recommendations to the government on access, concepts, creation, application and services related to knowledge to help build excellence in the education system to meet the challenges of the 21st century and increase India's competitive advantage.
He owns close to 100 patents. He is widely regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of handheld computing because of his invention of the Electronic Diary in 1975. He was also among the pioneers in digital telephone switching technology in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The decade of 1990 saw Mr. Pitroda explore the world of mobile phone based transaction technology and telecom developments in emerging markets.

Mr. Pitroda is also founder of the US based company, C-SAM, Inc.  C-SAM provides a robust software platform for conducting secure payment and non-payment transactions in the physical and virtual world using a mobile device.  C-SAM is committed to the vision of a digital wallet which is tightly integrated with value added services and applications and resides on a consumer’s mobile device.