Y.S. Rajan has a proven track record of excellence as a Scientist, Technologist, Administrator, Organisation Builder and Leader, Diplomat, Academic, Writer and Poet. He combines a unique ability for original and innovative thinking with strong implementation skills. He has capability to network with multi–disciplinary and multi–cultural groups.
He has made key contributions to space research, technology and applications since 1964 and continues to be an important expert on space matters. As Scientific Secretary, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he was responsible for a combination of scientific, technical, administrative, planning, policy and international cooperation matters. His contributions in shaping ISRO from its initial experimental phases into a major service delivery organisation have been remarkable. In the process, he has also been a creator of many institutions and sustainable mechanisms between ISRO and its end-users. He has worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA and NASA for about three years.
He is also a well recognized authority and thought leader on technology development, business management and society linkages. While holding various positions of responsibility related to science and technology (S&T) between 1988 and 2002, he has shaped key policies and implemented several successful R&D projects with industry participation. He has been responsible for creating a series of documents related to Technology Vision 2020 for India, which culminated in a book on a roadmap for socio-economic development for India called “India Vision 2020”. He has practical ground level experience in developmental issues and has founded and built organizations like Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), which he has led for about two decades. These organizations have helped to bring relevant technologies to improve productivity for the agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.
After a 30 year stint with the Government of India (GOI), he joined the leading industry association In India, Confederation of India Industry (CII) in 1996. At CII, he strengthened and expanded their capabilities to interface with Government on S&T and business issues. The technology division which he expanded and strengthened has now become a powerful platform for national and international cooperation between industry, academia and governments. As Principal Adviser (2004-2010) he created unique mechanism at CII for University – Industry collaboration.
He has wide international experience and was responsible for a large number of cooperative projects between India and other countries. He has led Indian delegations to United Nations (UN) and has visited about 40 countries in all continents as a part of cooperative efforts in science, technology and business.
He is an expert in environmentally sound technologies, satellite meteorology, remote sensing, mapping systems and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) related matters. He has completed special assignments for UN organizations like UNIDO, WIPO and UNEP. He was actively involved in evolving policies and procedures relating to adopting IPR laws in India to the post WTO/TRIP situation and also in preparing the Indian Industry and institutions to master IPR issues.
His engagement with academic world began since 1976 and over a decade was responsible for funding basic research and introducing courses relating to space science and technology in several institutions. He was visiting professor in Anna University for four years (1984–88) and conducted Masters level courses. Since 1988, he has also been responsible for introducing several innovative courses and creating unique centres of relevance and excellence for industry-academia cooperation, with part funding from industry. As Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University (PTU), he introduced key initiatives to improve the internal processes and the external interfaces of the university. He continues to be visiting faculty, board member and advisor to various renowned Indian academic institutions.
He is also a prolific writer and has written on a variety of subjects, including on science, technology, business, youth, leadership, social and ethical issues. He has authored and co-authored a number of books and has contributed to several others. He has also written a large number of articles in journals in India and International papers/ magazines, etc. He is an excellent communicator in written and spoken form for different segments of people ranging from school children to accomplished elders.
He has written seven books of poetry in an Indian language, Tamil which has been critically acclaimed by eminent Indian poets. He has also written three books of English poems which have received very good reviews.
He was awarded Padma Shri by the President of India during 2012.
During January 2013, he was felicitated at the India Geospatial Forum, with Lifetime Achievement Award.