- He was an Indian lawyer, Indian independence activist and politician who served as a Union Minister and as the eighth president of India.
- He studied law and practised in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court of India.
- In his young age, he was an activist of the Indian independence movementand participated in the Quit India Movement.
- He was appointed as the member of the Constituent Assembly and the provisional cabinet. He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times and served as Union Finance Minister and Defence Minister.
- In 1984, he was elected as the seventh vice president of India and in 1987, he became the eighth President of India and served from 1987 to 1992. He also served as a State minister under K. Kamaraj and M. Bhaktavatsalam.
Contribution as Minister of Industries:
- Venkataraman was appointed as a Member of the Union Planning Commission in 1967and was entrusted the subjects of Industry, Labour, power, Transport, Communications, Railways.
- He held that office until 1971. In 1977, Venkataraman was elected to the Lok Sabha from Madras (South) Constituency and served as an Opposition Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
- Venkataraman was also, variously, a member of the Political Affairs Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee of the Union Cabinet; Governor, International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank.
- Venkataraman was a Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1953, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. He was Leader of the Indian Delegation to the 42nd Session of the International Labour Conference at Geneva (1958) and represented India in the Inter Parliamentary Conference in Vienna (1978).
- He was a member of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal from 1955 to 1979 and was its President from 1968 to 1979.
Contribution as Minister of Defence:
- In 1980, Venkataraman was re-elected to the Lok Sabha and was appointed Union Minister of Finance in the Government headed by Smt. Indira Gandhi.
- He was later appointed Union Minister of Defence, here he is credited for initiating India’s missile programme, he shifted A P J Abdul Kalam from space programme to the missile programme, and consolidated the entire missile system, naming it as Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
Vice President and President of India
- Later he was to serve as Vice-President of India and then as a President of India starting 1987, where he worked with four prime ministers, and appointed three of them: V. P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar and P. V. Narasimha Rao, during his five-year term, which saw the advent of coalition politics in India.
- His successor S. D. Sharma was the only other Indian President in 20th Century to work with four prime ministers and appoint three of them