Rajeev Chandrasekhar is an Independent MP in Rajya Sabha from Bangalore, Karnataka, elected for a second term in 2012, unopposed and unanimously supported by all major political parties. He is, however, not a conventional MP. Son of a senior Air Force officer born in Ahmedabad, Rajeev secured his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology before moving to Illinois Institute of Technology in US where he did his Master's in Computer Science, and then to Harvard University for an Advanced Management Programme Degree.
Hand-picked by Vinod Dham - the father of the Pentium chip - to work at Intel after his graduation from Illinois Institute of Technology, Rajeev was a member of the architecture team in Silicon Valley that invented the 486 chip and later, Intel's signature Pentium chip.
He chased his entrepreneurial dream when he returned to India in the early 90s. In 1994, being one of the earliest to see the potential of cellular phones in the Indian market, Rajeev founded BPL Mobile, giving the country its first and largest world-class telecom network. Rajeev is known as the poster boy of India’s telecom revolution and is widely recognised for his role in the development of the now thriving telecom sector.
In 2005, he set up Jupiter Capital, with a vision to foray into businesses of tomorrow in emerging new markets of globalizing economy of India. Jupiter Capital, which was established with an initial investment of US$100 million, currently has investments and managed assets of over 1 Billion USD ranging from technology to transportation, logistical services to hospitality and entertainment. In the world of media, Kannada Prabha, Suvarna News and Asianet TV channel alongwith Indigo FM station in Bangalore and Goa have established themselves as major players.
Conscious of obstacles faced by first time entrepreneurs Rajeev has, in the last few years, invested resources and time to identify young entrepreneurs across India, including in the neglected parts of the North East. The overwhelming response of young entrepreneurs to his initiative for nurturing entrepreneurs in Nagaland, will soon see this programme extend to Karnataka and Kerala.
Rajeev’s entrepreneurial zeal and major initiatives have won him all round recognition and awards. These include the Honorary Doctorate from Vishweswarya Technical University in Karnataka last year and the Illinois Institute of Technology's Global Service Alumni Association honour. He was also nominated for UK’s prestigious Index Freedom of Expression Award for 2013, in the category of Digital Freedom for fighting against internet censorship in India and challenging legislation that will stifle digital freedom.
Rajeev served as the youngest President of FICCI - India’s apex industry chamber in 2008-09. As an advocate of Governance reforms, Rajeev took the lead and initiated a series of seminars on Governance reforms including a Conference on Administrative Reforms and Ethics in Governance which brought the Government and industry together on the same platform.
A strong votary of good governance through institutional reforms, he has been vocal and articulate on issues of reforms, governance and economy inside and outside Parliament. He was the first MP to come out with a "Report Card" on his performance at the end of his first term as Rajya Sabha member in 2012. Much before the 2G scam hit headlines he brought the government and nation's attention to it in 2007 by calling for an investigation in the spectrum allocation. He has been a consistent supporter of armed forces inside and outside Parliament. Through Flags of Honour Foundation, he has reached out to armed forces personnel and their families fighting for their cause. It is at his initiative that Independent India's first War Memorial is taking shape in Bangalore and is expected to be opened to public soon.
Rajeev has also been a member of the PM’s Council on Trade and Development, Chairman of Karnataka Government’s Infrastructure Task Force, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and Member of Parliamentary Forum on Youth.