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Happy that NDA has given Aadhaar a big push: Nilekani

"For the first time, we are going to do paperless, cashless transactions on mobile phones. I think that will change the society, our country, business and government and make India a developed nation,” Nilekani said.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Bengaluru | Published: December 7, 2015 1:15 am
Nandan Nilekani receiving the Lifetime Achievement award from  Ravi Shankar Prasad as NR Narayana Murthy and Vishal Sikka, winner of Newsmaker of the year winner looks on during the Express IT Awards in Bengalore on Dec 4th 2015. Express photo by Ravi Kanojia. Nandan Nilekani receiving the Lifetime Achievement award from Ravi Shankar Prasad as NR Narayana Murthy and Vishal Sikka, winner of Newsmaker of the year winner looks on during the Express IT Awards in Bengaluru. (Source: Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Infosys co-founder and former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Nandan Nilekani, expressed satisfaction on the continuation of his dream project Aadhaar, which provides every citizen a social security number and proof of identity, by the current NDA government.

Nilekani resigned as chairman of the UIDAI in early 2014 to contest for general elections from the Bengaluru South constituency, after enrolling half of India’s population for the unique identity number.

Speaking after accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the third Express IT Awards programme organised by Indian Express Group in Bengaluru on Friday, Nilekani said, “I am delighted that the NDA government has embraced Aadhaar and given it so much momentum. When I left Aadhaar, we had 600 million cards, now there are 940 million. It will reach a billion mark in the next three to four months.”

He also expressed happiness that the Narendra Modi government has taken the Aadhaar project to the next level by linking old age pensioners and saving Rs 2,000 crore. The government has also saved $2.5 billion in one year by linking LPG users to Aadhaar numbers, he said.

Nilekani also expressed confidence that India could become a developed nation with the government giving impetus on adopting the Digital India theme, which involves using several digital initiatives such as digital locker, electronically opening bank accounts and mobile to mobile payment mechanism among others.

“The entire stack is going to transform governance and business. For the first time, we are going to do paperless, cashless transactions on mobile phones. I think that will change the society, our country, business and government and make India a developed nation,” Nilekani said.

He also recalled how he joined his mentor N R Narayana Murthy in founding and building Infosys as India’s second largest IT services company.

Speaking on the occasion, Murthy listed Nilekani among the four greatest contributors to India’s public governance system. The other three in his list are Prof. M S Swaminathan, Verghese Kurien and Sam Pitroda. “The four people have clearly transformed India like nobody else,” he said.

Murthy also praised Nilekani for making Aadhaar a reality.

“The identity has come to all of us because of Aadhaar. Financial inclusion and efficiency in public governance system has improved because of Aadhaar. Therefore, I think it is proper that we are paying tribute to Nilekani,” he said.

Recalling Nilekani’s contribution in building Infosys, Murthy said it was during Nandan’s tenure Infosys witnessed the best growth. He was a man who looked at everything based on data and facts. “There is no doubt at all that his role at Infosys was very crucial and we are all very grateful for him to leading Infosys. His story did not stop at Infosys. He went on to do something truly extraordinary in the technological history of India in so far as public governance system is concerned,” Murthy said.

Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka, who received the Newsmaker of the Year Award, said he was proud to receive the award along with Nilekani and in the presence of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. Stating that his last 15 months stint at Infosys as “an amazing journey”, he said he has been leading the company on the value-based foundation laid by founding members of the company.

Later, Deepak Ravindran, founder, Lookup, a start-up company and Greg Moran, founder, Zoomcar, narrated their experience of starting their respective companies despite several hurdles and challenges.

Union minister for communications & IT Ravi Shankar Prasad gave away awards to the winners across 11 categories, which attracted over 350 entries.

 

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    Sirius
    Dec 7, 2015 at 5:11 am
    Aadhaar is an idea whose time has come long ago. UPA-II, Nilekani, UIDAI leadership and now NDA are all deserving of appreciation to make Aadhaar a reality. There will be issues (e.g., Aadhaar card issued to illegal Bangladeshi/stani immigrants, Privacy concerns, judicial actions) , but these should be progressively addressed ...
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      A
      Dec 7, 2015 at 7:10 am
      for the secrecy issue...right to privacy...nandan..himself told that the data what is being sent is an encrypted one...so no one can read or access that data...then where the secrecy issue came from.....while supreme court recent judgement also in favour of govt..to continue use of aadhar...as right to privacy is not a fundamental right..stead SC consuted a panel yet to submit its report on the same..
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        A
        Dec 7, 2015 at 7:13 am
        they deserve becz. 10 years there were only 50 crore enrollment of aadhar...to make it more faster and to make real use of aadhar...NDA strted DBT, and targeted subsidies to curb down leakage which mostly was going in netas pocket...now in 19 months its around 1 ARAB enrollment....then who gave the real push???
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          A
          Dec 7, 2015 at 7:06 am
          well it was vajpaee..who introduced this under different name..e out of your dynasty politics mindset...and google before writing...aadhar as an idea came from Britain...nandaan...is a congress man...who lost election from banglore...well their are many like you roaming freely...
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            Achal
            Dec 7, 2015 at 8:20 am
            Congress Party should at least have some positive discussion in Parliament in view of Nandan Nilekani's comments. Good works done by Congress are continued with more vigour! Congress had planned well but when it came to execution, they had coalition compulsions and difference of opinion due to so called "civil groups" influencing the major power centre. But now this government is working only with the objective of development, leaders like Nilekani should come forward and openly support (even though moral support) to clear the bills lniked directly to take India on the path of becoming a developed country. Performance of the current government is good in infrastructure sector and power.
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