The father of the Indian software industry and Padma Bhushan winner Dr. FC Kohli, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Computer Society of India. Kohli was bestowed this honor at the inaugural ceremony of CSI’s 45th Annual National Convention 2010 on November 25th, in Mumbai.
In his acceptance speech Kohli said the country needs hardware as much as software. “There are 900 million people in this country who do not speak or read English. If you want them to increase their productivity and be part of the Internet (and the computer revolution) you will need to have computers in their language.
The day you have computers (with interfaces in) 22 languages, you will need 30 million PCs -- not just 5 million a year. You will then need to build the hardware industry to support it.”
Kohli, who is also a Fellow of CSI said there has been some progress with local language application development at C-DAC, IITs and the IIITs. “Today we have open source operating systems, databases, and browsers in all Indian languages and I am proud of this achievement,” he said.
Kohli also urged the application of computers and technology in agriculture to increase yield.
“The agriculture productivity in this country is very low. It is one-third of China and one-sixth of California. When I looked at agriculture education I found that there are 95 agriculture colleges and 15 agriculture engineering colleges in the country. But not a single agriculture graduate goes to farming. How do you apply science and technology to agriculture? Using science and technology there is a scope to increase our agriculture produce by 400 percent -- not 4 percent as suggested by the Planning Commission,” said Kohli.
Dr. FC Kohli is the founder of TCS and was the director of several Tata Group companies. The Tata Group presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Kohli in 2002. He also served as director of many other companies, the most recent one being Media Lab Asia.
During his career Kohli received honorary degrees from University of Waterloo, Canada, Robert Gordon University, U.K, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, Jadavpur University, Queen's University and University of Roorkee. He is also a fellow of IEEE USA, IEE UK, and the Institution of Engineers India.