Nandan Nilekani

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Nandan Nilekani
Nandan M. Nilekani.jpg

Nilekani at the World Economic Forum inDavos, 2007
Personal details
Born 2 June 1955 (age 61)
Vani Vilas Women and Children Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
Residence Bangalore
Alma mater Bishop Cotton Boys’ School,Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Occupation Former chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI)

Nandan Nilekani[1] (born 2 June 1955) is an Indian entrepreneur, bureaucrat and politician. He was the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). After a successful career at Infosys, he headed the Government of India’s technology committee, TAGUP.[2] He is a member of Indian National Congress but not active in politics[3] as of 2015.

Early life[edit]

Nandan Nilekani was born on 2 June 1955 at Bangalore, Karnataka.[4] His parents Durga and Mohan Rao Nilekani are from Konkani Brahmin community originally from Sirsi town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka[5] His father worked as a general manager of Mysore and Minerva Mills and subscribed to Fabian Socialist ideals that influenced Nilekani in his early years. Nilekani’s elder brother, Vijay, works in the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Nilekani studied at the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and St. Joseph High School Dharwad, Karnataka PU College Dharwad and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai.[6]


Information Technology[edit]

Nilekani in 1978 started his career at the Mumbai-based Patni Computer Systems, where he met and was interviewed by N.R. Narayana Murthy. In 1981, Nilekani, Murthy, and five others left Patni to start their own company,Infosys. Nilekani became the chief executive officer of Infosys in March 2002 and served as CEO of the company through April 2007, when he relinquished his position to his colleague Kris Gopalakrishnan and became co-chairman of the board of directors. Before assuming leadership as CEO in 2002, Nilekani held various posts, including managing director, president, and chief operating officer. He served as its CEO from March 2002 to April 2007.[7][8][9]During his 5-year tenure as CEO, Infosys’ topline grew sixfold to $3 billion.


Nilekani left Infosys in July 2009 to serve as the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, a cabinet-ranking position that he entered under the invitation of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.[7][8] As chair of the UIDAI he is responsible for implementing the envisioned Multipurpose National Identity Card, or Unique Identity card (UID Card) project in India. This initiative aims to provide a unique identification number for all residents of India and will be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.[9] The identification method will be biometric, and the drive to create this government database of the entire population of India has been called “the biggest social project on the planet.”[10]

He is a member of the board of governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the president of NCAER (the premier independent applied economics research institute in India).[9] He also sits on several advisory boards, including those of the World Economic Forum Foundation and the Bombay Heritage Fund.[11]

Nilekani has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote his book Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation [12] and spoke at a TED conference in 2009 on his ideas for India’s future.[13]


Nilekani joined Indian National Congress in March 2014 and contested from the Bangalore South constituency where he lost by 228,575 votes[14] to BJP candidate Ananth Kumar in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.[15]

General Election 2014[edit]

Indian general election, 2014: Bangalore South[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
BJP Ananth Kumar 633,816
INC Nandan Nilekani 405,241
JD(S) Ruth Manorama 25,677
AAP Nina P. Nayak 21,403
BJP hold Swing


Nilekani is currently chairman of EkStep, a non-profit literacy and numeracy platform.[17] Set up by the Nilekanis with an initial commitment of $10 million (about Rs 65 crore), EkStep looks at solving the ‘learning problem’ by creating a technology-led platform to help children in improving their ‘learning outcomes’ quite early in their life. EkStep intends to do it using gamified apps, hosted in the Google playstore.[18]

Family and personal life[edit]

Rohini Nilekani

Nilekani is married to Rohini Nilekani (nee Soman),[19] whom he met at a quizzing event at IIT.[20] They have two children, Nihar and Janhavi, each of whom has received an undergraduate degree from Yale University.[21] Nandan Nilekani belongs to the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community and his first language is Konkani. In addition to Konkani, he speaks Kannada and Marathi fluently along with Hindi and English.

Honours and awards[edit]

  • He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto on 31 May 2011.[22]
  • He received NDTV Indian of the Year‘s Transformational Idea of the Year Award in 2011[23]
  • He was named Corporate Citizen of the Year at the Asia Business Leaders Award (2004) organised by CNBC.[24]
  • Joseph Schumpeter Prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics – 2005.[25]
  • In 2009, Time magazine placed Nilekani in the Time 100 list of ‘World’s Most Influential People’[26]
  • Was presented the ‘Legend in Leadership Award’ by the Yale University in November 2009. He is the first Indian to receive the top honour.[27]
  • In January 2006, Nilekani became on the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board.[11]
  • Nilekani was awarded one of India’s highest civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan, in 2006.[28]
  • Also in 2006, he was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia.[29]


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Nandan Nilekani
Nandan Nilekani is an Indian entrepreneur, bureaucrat and politician. He was the Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India. After a successful career at Infosys, he headed the Government of India’s technology committee, TAGUP. Wikipedia
Born: June 2, 1955 (age 61), Bengaluru
Net worth: 1.58 billion USD (2015) Forbes
N. R. Narayana Murthy
N. R. Narayana Murthy
Kris Gopalakrishnan
Kris Gopalakrishnan
S. D. Shibulal
S. D. Shibulal
Vishal Sikka
Vishal Sikka
N. S. Raghavan
N. S. Raghavan
Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra – From your Internet address – Use precise location
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