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Rajeev Chandrasekhar

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An engineer with a master’s degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar has done more things in one lifetime than many others do in several. He is a businessman, a philanthropist, a public leader and an MP from Karnataka, being an active and articulate member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament. Chandrasekhar earned his spurs in the United States, where he worked for Intel and was a member of the team that designed the Pentium chip. Later, he came back to India and founded BPL Mobile, being one of the earliest to see the potential of  cellular phones in the Indian economy, and anticipate its ability to act as a social game changer. Subsequently, he set up Jupiter Capital, a venture capital and investment company that has interests ranging from infrastructure to technology to media and entertainment.

Chandrasekhar is fairly unusual among Indian businessmen in that he is unafraid to speak his mind and even take on the government on policy issues. For instance, he was critical of the UPA government’s handling of the telecom sector, leading to the 2G spectrum scandal. He has opinions – and solutions – to offer on an array of issues, ranging from freedom of the Internet to economic deregulation, from governance reform to institutionalising anti-corruption and anti-graft measures. In carving out a profile that goes beyond just the boardroom, Chandrasekhar has made the jump from being an entrepreneur to becoming a public intellectual.

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