Given on this 23rd day of January 2009 at New Delhi, by the hands of Mr Wajahat Habibullah, Hon’ble Chief Information Commissioner of India
For a man who had never even used a telephone till he was 22 years old, Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, better known as Sam Pitroda, is credited with bringing the telecom and IT revolution to India. He left a reasonably successful business in the US to come back to India to serve the country. Through his mantra of indigenous manufacturing, shared access, rural telephony and using the power of young talent, he made the rural telephone exchange and the Public Call Office – PCO – at every nook and corner of India happen. He was the founding father of Centre for Development of Telematics – C-Dot. Competition from C-Dot ensured India getting one of the cheapest costs per phone line from global companies. He laid the foundation of the new telecom policy and brought in modern management practices through technology missions. He was instrumental in helping kick-start software exports from India and providing economies of scale to computer manufacturing in India. He served India at a great personal cost. On behalf of the ordinary people of India, we salute the extraordinary work of Sam Pitroda through the Skoch Challenger Lifetime Achievement Award.