He is the person who revolutionized telecom in India. Satyanarayan Gangaram Panchal, alias Sam Pitroda, who hails from Tikar, a tiny village in Halvad taluk of Surendranagar district of Gujarat, is now all charged up about the next revolution which he guarantees will be bigger, better. "It will change the way we are governed, it will change the way we are educated, it will change the way we deliver health care, it will change the way we farm, it will change the way we bank…nowhere in the world is something so revolutionary happening and it will mark the arrival of new India," affirms Dr Pitroda, who heads the National Innovation Council as part of his larger role as adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations.
As a nation that prides itself on winning its freedom without recourse to arms based on a social innovation of peaceful resistance, India is now witnessing an innovative experiment in rights-based delivery through a Right to Work, Right to Education and Right to Information, while a Right to Food Security is on the anvil. While the UID initiative is setting up one critical component of this ambitious initiative, Dr Pitroda is spearheading the Public Information Infrastructure that will connect all 250000 gram panchayats across the country through fiber optic broadband connections bringing Government information to the mobile handsets of every citizen. While this becomes the underlying backbone for administering Right to Information, a parallel network connecting all universities – including some overseas – will help the country realize the right of every citizen to good education.
Sitting in his office in Chicago, Dr Pitroda takes time out to speak to Vaahini. Excerpts from the freewheeling interview are captured below, almost verbatim, in order to retain the enthusiasm and passion that comes across while speaking to this technocrat.
Read the Full Interview, here.