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business leaders > profiles > Faqir Chand Kohli
Faqir Chand Kohli
F C Kohli: Nurturing Indian software talent
MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

In addition, Kohli has been conferred a number of honorary doctorates by eminent institutions, notably in engineering

from Canada's University of Waterloo in 1990; Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, in the UK, in 2000; IIT Kanpur in


2006; IIT Bombay in 2004; Kolkata's Jadavpur University in 2004 and the University of Roorkee, in 2000.

A visionary and pioneer by nature, Dr F C Kohli is acknowledged as the 'father of the Indian software industry'.

Kohli propagated computerisation in India at a time when its potential in bringing the benefits of IT to India's rural masses, computer-based adult literacy programme or IT as an instrument of national development had not been realised.

He has been working on advancing engineering education at undergraduate levels to world standards to create a large pool of students to take up graduate studies and research. With IIT Bombay and Ministry of Information Technology, Kohli initiated a project to graduate 3,000 microelectronic engineers at the masters level. His vision of extending IT use in all spheres of activity within the country has today taken shape in terms of affordable computers and open-source software in Indian languages.

Kohli is a fellow of IEEE USA, IEE UK, Institution of Engineers India, Computer Society of India and is the recipient of several awards including the prestigious Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhusan in the year 2002.

Starting his career with the Canadian General Electric Company, he then worked with Ebasco International Corporation, the New York Connecticut Valley Power Exchange, and New England Power System, Boston, where he trained in Power System Operation Planning.

Kohli returned to India in early August 1951, and joined Tata Electric Companies (now Tata Power Company) and helped to set up the 'load despatching system' to manage the system operations. In 1967 he became deputy general manager of Tata Electric Companies. He introduced advanced engineering and management techniques for the operation of power systems and was responsible for significant use of digital computers for power system design and control, using the CDC 3600 mainframe computer at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

During this period he simultaneously worked as consultant to Tata Consulting Engineers.

Kohli became director of Tata Electric Companies in 1970.

In 1968, Tata Electric Companies became one of the five power utilities in the world to install digital controls to regulate operations of the entire grid of Tata Electric Companies, which comprised three hydro stations, thermal units and energy supply from Tarapore Atomic Energy and Koyna Hydroelectric of Maharashtra State Electricity Board.

This was a significant achievement for India as there were only four other utilities in the US that had opted for digital controls. UK, Germany, France and Japan at that point in time were using analogue controls.

In September 1969, he moved to Tata Consultancy Services as general manager and became director-in-charge in 1974 and deputy chairman in 1994.

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