The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the leading United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technology, is marking its 146th anniversary of establishment on 17 May this year by recognizing eminent personalities who have made a significant contribution in using ICT for social development to unleash the digital revolution. In this regard, ITU has decided to confer the 2011 ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to Mr. Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, in recognition of his dedication to promoting ICTs as a means of providing a better life for humanity and social and economic empowerment.  

Mr. Sam Pitroda is the first Indian to receive this prestigious award. As Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and Chairman of the National Innovation Council of India, Mr Pitroda is currently undertaking several initiatives to realise the inclusive growth agenda of the Government by leveraging ICT. He is also widely considered to have been responsible for India’s telecommunications revolution and has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. As Technology Adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the mid-1980s, Mr Pitroda not only heralded the telecom revolution in India, but also made a strong case for using technology for the benefit and betterment of society through several missions on telecommunications, literacy, dairy, water, immunization, and oilseeds. He has continued to redefine the role technology can play in a society like India by linking it to better delivery of services for the underprivileged in the country. In his current role, he is involved in shaping the country’s policy on rural broadband connectivity to enable a move to the next generation of ICT infrastructure with a focus on open government and democratisation of information for improved governance and transparency.

Making the announcement for the award, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré lauded Mr Pitroda’s work for leadership and dedication towards promoting ICTs as a means of providing a better life through global sustainability and bridging the digital divide.

The Awards will be presented on 17 May 2011 at 11 am in a ceremony to be held at the ITU headquarters in Geneva as part of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day celebrations.

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June 2021