Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and tech evangelist Sam Pitroda have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a non-profit organisation based in the US. Ambani has been elected "for engineering and business leadership in oil refineries, petrochemical products, and related industries", NAE said in a statement, announcing 80 new and 22 foreign members.
Satyan (Sam) G Pitroda, Chairman, The Pitroda Group, has been elected for development of rural telecommunications infrastructure for India, it said. Since its establishment in 1964, NAE has elected 232 foreign members – only 10 of them are Indian citizens though there are some people of Indian origin in the US list of 2,277 members. "Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer," the statement read.
NAE membership honours those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education". Ambani and Pitroda will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE's Annual Meeting in Washington on October 9. Election to NAE is based on nomination and Ambani was elected the very first time he was nominated. Former Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chairman Raghunath Mashelkar was his proposer.
Other Indians who have been members of NAE include Ratan Tata (2013), Pradip P of TCS (2012), scientist P Ramarao (2012), N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys (2010), P C Kapur, IIT Delhi (2009), chemical engineer M M Sharma (2006), Dr R A Mashelkar (2003), and Dr Roddam Narasimha, JNACSR (1989). Founded in 1964, the academy is a private, independent, non-profit entity that provides engineering leadership with a mission to promote a vibrant engineering profession and giving insights to the US government on related matters.