Former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Nandan Nilekani is one of Bill Gates’ five favourite ‘fanatics’ of 2016.
Earlier, he had an extremely successful career at Infosys. Nilekani was also the head of the Government of India’s technology committee, TAGUP. Though a member of the Congress party, Nilekani has not been very active. But he has been extremely spirited to bring most Indians under the Aadhaar scheme.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates in a blog wrote about 5 people who have been ‘fanatical’ about brining a change in the society in one way or the other. Gates wrote: “By “fanatical” I mean that I was so focused on my vision of putting a computer on every desk and in every home that I gave up a normal existence….My colleagues and I at Microsoft took tremendous pride in being the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. It was an incredibly fun chapter of my life.”
Gates believes that these ‘fanatics’ are scientists, teachers and engineers who are tirelessly working on something new with an aim to realise their dreams. Nilekani comes at number three on his list and Gates writes of him under the title “Rebooting India”. Gates recalled how he met ‘entrepreneur, philanthropist, and thinker’ Nilekani on his visit to India.
He also remembered the time when he met Nilekani 20 years ago when he was a part of a startup called Infosys which later became a huge part of Indian technological sector. Gates mentioned how Nilekani left his job at Infosys and brought the Aadhaar, India’s identity card system and how it provided biometric IDs to such a huge, over a billion population. Gates wrote: “Nandan and I share a common optimism about the potential of the digital revolution in India to improve lives through access to savings accounts, health records, and education.”