Identity Crisis II
See Part I here.
We continue our Identity Crisis with a brief look into Nandan Nilekani, the founder of Aadhaar and Chairman of Unique Identity Authority of India (U.I.D.A.I.).
Padma Bhushan Nandan Nilekani was born on the 2nd of June 1955, in the Sirsi town of North Kannada district, in the state of Karnataka, into the best class India’s caste system has to offer. He is a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin, meaning he is descended from the Saraswats, a small Konkani-speaking community of Hindu Brahmins: chiefly followers of Shiva, like our Nandan Nilekani is. In India, the
After a decent education, the doors saved for the Brahmin’s began to open for Nilekani. He was tapped on the shoulder by one Narayana Murthy, to work at Patni Computer Systems. Murthy, with his watchful eye, later brought Nilekani in to be Co-Founder and CEO of start-up InfoSys. Nilekani’s wife, Rohini Nilekani invested several thousand dollars in Infosys’ beginnings.
But I digress…
In the 1980’s, Nilekani lived in the US, embedded with Infosys clients in Union City, New Jersey and Skokie, Illinois, among other places. Nandan Nilekani is also Co-founder of NASSCOM and as well as the Bangalore Chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), Board member of London Business School’s Asia Pacific Regional Advisory, he served as a member of the sub-committee of Securities and Exchange Board of India. Nilekani is Vice-Chairman of The Conference Board Inc. and Co-Chairman of IIT Bombay Heritage Fund. He was involved in Bangalore Agenda Task Force in 2000 and awarded ‘Distinguished Alumnus’ by IIT Bombay in 2001. Being a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) has surely helped to keep his open schedule filled, as well as being President of NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Research, India). Nilekani is, not surprisingly, Chairman of Government of India’s IT Task Force for the Power Sector.
As we have seen before in the types of people we expose, he has a great many titles, positions and awards.
He “won” the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize in the field of politics and economic sciences in 2005, the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2006, the ‘Businessman of the Year’ award from Forbes Asia magazine in 2007, the ‘Legend in Leadership’ award from Yale University in 2009 and was listed in the Times magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2009.
His list of accomplishments doesn’t end there. He was the non-executive Director of Thomson Reuters Plc. since 2007, and is the author of ‘Imagining India’, which was listed in the final list for FT-Goldman Sachs Book Award in 2009.
Nilekani became a board member of the foundation that runs the Davos summits, and, as we will see momentarily, is quite influential there. His brother, Vijay Nilekani, works for Nuclear Energy Institute, in Washington, D.C. and is the co-owner of Rohini’s foundation Fundamentum, along with . Nandan Nilekani‘s wife, Rohini, is (as most wives of this sort are) a writer, and a dabbler. She is a Founder-Chairperson of ARGHYA: a charitable trust she has endowed with $35 million. She is also the Akshara Foundation Chairwoman and many other philanthropic interests.
Davos of January 2007.
The National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), based in Islamabad, has developed solutions based on Biometrics and RFID technology and has the largest IT infrastructure in Pakistan with highly qualified technical and managerial resources enabling NADRA to provide customized solutions to any country. NADRA’s Deputy Chairman Tariq Malik was awarded ‘ID Outstanding Achievement Award’ in 2009, at an exclusive ceremony during the 8th ID WORLD International Congress: the Global Summit on Automatic Identification. Malik was selected out of 250 people from 75 countries by international voting of editorial board consisting of CEOs of fortune 500 companies. Like Malik, Nandan Nilekani won ID Limelight Award given to a person who has attracted the highest media attention. He was given the award “For being the force behind a transformational project ID project in India…which would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.”