In early 1991, when the fledging IT sector was still finding its feet, and seeking mentors and visionaries to set it on the path of the future, a young CA in New Delhi, a techie, a “graphics man,” saw what few could even comprehend at that point in time.
Dewang Mehta, a pioneering spirit, saw a world where the Indian ICT industry would play a key role. He envisioned a scenario where India would find a place on the global map on the strength of its technology talent and skilled IT manpower. Along with other thought leaders, Dewang Mehta laid the foundation for what became India’s most powerful growth engine—the country’s IT-BPO sector. Spurred the growth of India’s software and services exports, driving the industry to become a significant contributor to the country’s GDP.
Kiran Karnik is the former President of NASSCOM, and a well known leader and spokesperson of the IT-BPO industry. Taking charge of NASSCOM in 2001, following the untimely demise of its Founder and President, Dewang Mehta, Kiran Karnik helped stabilise the organisation and enabled it to continue on its path of growth, expansion and institution building.
During his tenure as President, NASSCOM, spearheaded initiatives that helped in the following ways: Reiterated NASSCOM’s commitment to Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs), providing them with a platform for interaction, learning, mentorship and recognition. Kiran helped in the creation of Emerge, a plank specially focused on launching initiatives targeted at the smaller players within the IT-BPO industry, and enabled them to find a voice.
Som Mittal held the position of President, NASSCOM from 2008-13 and steered the industry through one of its most challenging phases. Som played a key role in shaping the industry and NASSCOM through multiple initiatives that included:
Som led the public advocacy efforts globally and was able to overcome protectionism issues in US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia among others. Consistently reiterating commitment to free trade, Som took a strong stance against perils of protectionist policies, demonstrating how Indian companies are contributing to local economies and at the same time ensuring policies in India follow the same principle.
As a member of Indo US and Indo EU ICT strategic dialogues, Som worked on many key initiatives including conclusion of several social security agreements.
During his tenure at NASSCOM, the industry entered the age of Fourth Industrial Revolution which in its wake brought in disruptive change – need for re-skilling of talent, enterprise-wide digital transformation, cybersecurity, rising protectionist wave particularly in traditional markets, the second coming of startups, increased focus on the domestic market and IT for social good, among others.
In a VUCA-defined environment, he catalysed great change and addressed the diverse needs of industry stakeholders in an exemplary manner. As a result, the member count increased manifold and today the number stands at 2600. Among the many firsts were CoEs in IoT & Data Science which had been set up to foster next gen technologies.
He has also held many distinguished positions in the Government including, Chairman of the Telecom Commission, Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology in India, and Secretary of the Department of Information Technology for several terms. He was conferred the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 2007-08.