Unique Identification Authority of India
Nandan Nilekani is an Indian entrepreneur and Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the rank of Union Cabinet Minister. Prior to this post, Nilekani co-founded and served as CEO of Infosys, an India-based, multinational provider of business consulting, technology, engineering, and outsourcing services. In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine listed him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in both 2006 and 2009. In 2006, he was awarded one of India’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Bhushan and was also named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia.
Nilekani’s lecture focused on his experience with Aadhaar, the Unique ID (UID) system the Indian Government is in the process of building. Over 300 million people have been enrolled and the goal is to enroll 1.2 billion residents of India. UID uses multimodal biometrics to solve the most basic of development challenges – identity. It is primarily aimed at ensuring inclusive growth, strengthening equity by providing a form of identity to those in the marginalized sections of society, and enabling better delivery of services and effective governance. Over the next few years a large number of applications by public and private entities are expected to be developed, providing transformational benefits to residents of India.
Nilekani was featured speaker of CGD’s eighth annual Richard H. Sabot Lecture honoring the life and work of Richard “Dick” Sabot, a friend, co-author, and founding member of CGD's board of directors. CGD president Nancy Birdsall hosted and served as moderator for a discussion after the lecture.