Rakesh Mohan Agarwal was appointed the CMD of ITI Limited in October 2019. A postgraduate in electronics and communications and an MBA, Agarwal joined the Indian Telecommunication Service in 1986. He has about 33 years of rich experience in policy formulation, standardisation planning, and operations and maintenance of telecom networks in different organisations of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
He began his career in around 1988-89 when he took up the job of installing telephone exchanges in remote areas. He installed the first telephone exchanges in places like Solan and Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. “The excitement of the villagers making their first phone call is something I won’t forget. However, since then, the telecom landscape has transformed completely. Now you can call whenever you want and talk to anyone in the world. But, this change has its own implications as we don’t have the time to talk to those around us because we are glued to our phones,” says Agarwal. Being an incredibly dynamic industry, several new advancements have been made, whatsApp being one of them. Talking of WhatsApp, Agarwal says that he asks his granddaughter about the use of the same but doesn’t use it much.
Policy formulation is another area to which Agarwal has contributed greatly. He worked as deputy director general (networks and technologies), DoT, where he was involved in policy formulation for the adoption and implementation of new technologies such as IPv6, M2M and cloud computing by the telecom and IT industry.
Currently, with his work, Agarwal is committed to helping the ITI, which has witnessed several ups and downs, regain its glory as a telecom pioneer. After having incurred losses for a long period, under his aegis, ITI has turned profitable and is aiming for earning profits from 2020-21 onwards. For Agarwal, the next challenge would be to make this growth sustainable by keeping the order book healthy. “I have to make some changes so that in a dynamically changing environment, we can retain leadership and deploy new technologies to help the company regain its glory,” says Agarwal.
Agarwal will be serving ITI till 2022 and wants it to be the best public sector undertaking in the country. He wants it to be best performing companies in manufacturing, and in exporting, keeping its employees satisfied and well rewarded.