Dr Narla Tata Rao born on September 4, 1917, completed B.Sc in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from the Banaras Hindu University(BHU), Varanasi and a Diploma from the Jamshedpur Technological Institute of the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) Limited, Jamshedpur. He then did his M.S in the Power Systems Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (USA). The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad later conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science. Dr Rao served Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board (MPEB) from 1948 to 1972 in various capacities, right from Divisional Engineer to the Vice Chairman. Dr. Tata Rao built the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board as an envious organization He then worked as Member (Thermal) during 1972-74 with the Central Water and Power Commission, Government of India. Rao has also been the President of the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP), New Delhi during 1976-79 and Chairman of the National Council of Power Utilities during 1982-88. He also served the Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board (APSEB) as its Chairman during 1974-88. Dr Tata Rao became synonymous to the Energy Sector in Andhra Pradesh. Dr Tata Rao increased the installed capacity of the State Grid Five-fold by conceiving giant generation projects like Vijayawada Thermal Station, Nagarjunasagar, Srisailam and Lower Sileru Hydel Power Projects. He formed a strong base for the State’s electricity sector, which is now considered one of the best in the country. In 1992, he was appointed as Advisor on Power to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Tata Rao won several awards at National and International levels and also brought laurels to the engineering profession and the Motherland.
Dr. Rao has been recipient of the Golden Jubilee Award of the CBIP, New Delhi for the year 1978. President of India conferred on him “Padmashri” in 1983. He was also recipient of Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya Award instituted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Institution of Engineers (India), A P State Centre in the year 1985 and the Om Prakash Bhasin Award in the year 1986. The IBPL Urja Research Foundation, Mumbai selected Dr. Rao as the “Energy Man of the Year” for 1995. The Institution of Engineers (India) honoured him with Hon.Life Fellow of IEI in 1997 during the Twelfth Indian Engineering Congress held in Bangalore. Dr. Tata Rao always stood behind the State Centre in all its endeavours such as World Energy Congress etc. etc. Dr. Tata Rao always used to mention that the Hon.Life FIE conferred on him by IEI is higher than any other honour.
Dr Narla Tata Rao breathed his last on 7th April, 2007
The first Endowment Lecture was instituted on 4th September, 2001