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Ayyagari Sambasiva Rao (popularly known as A.S.Rao) (1914–2003) was an eminent Indian scientist and founder of the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

Rao was born in a poor peasant’s family to Venkatachalam and Sundaramma on 20 September 1914 at Mogallu village of the fertile and picturesque West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. After schooling in his native state, he moved to Banaras Hindu University where he took his Master of Science degree in Physics in 1939, with high academic honours. For the next six years he taught and conducted research in that University. In 1946, Rao was selected for the prestigious Tata scholarship on which he went to take his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Standford University. On his return from the US, Rao joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research as a Reader in Experimental Physics and thus began his association with Dr Homi J. Bhabha in the development of India’s science and technology. In the early days of his career, Rao worked on high altitude cosmic ray research. Very soon he localised his area of specialist interest in Electronic Instrumentation and it was possible for Bhabha to leave this dimension of developmental effort in the capable hands of Rao.

He was the director of radiation health protection and electronics groups at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) and later played a key role in setting up ECIL in the city of Hyderabad in 1967 when the Dept of Atomic Energy (DAE) decided to go commercial in its electronics A short story of his humbleness.He completed his education with so much struggle and Tata has recognised his capability and sent him to Stanford University for higher education by paying Rs 40000/-in those days and after he completed his studies he was offered to work in Stanford as assistant professor with salary of Rs 140000/- but he rejected the offer saying Tata had trust on him and helped him study in Stanford “It is my duty to work for them and use my knowledge for development of Tata group” He worked for Tata for just 300 rs this shows his gratitude and great character research.

Awards and honours

Born in Delhi, Ram was the son of Lala Shri Ram, who founded Delhi Cloth & General Mills.  Ram completed his preliminary education at Modern School New Delhi. He graduated from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi with a degree in economics. After his graduation in 1935, he joined Delhi Cloth & General Mills as an apprentice and rose to the position of chairman and managing director in 1958.

Ram founded Shriram Fibres (SRF Ltd) in 1970 and later, Shri Ram Fertilizers. He served on various government committees and wrote two books: Glimpses of Industrial India and From Istanbul to Vienna. He also became the chairman of Indian Airlines. He received the Padma Bhushan award in 1972.

Ram was a passionate golfer and helped found the Indian Golf Union.

Ram died in New Delhi hospital on 11 July 2007.