EXCLUSIVE | Nandan Nilekani on how Digitalisation has changed the lives of citizens of India

ZEE BUSINESS EXCLUSIVE: Digitalisation has brought about sweeping changes in India. Digital India, a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, has been lauded by top industrialists, technocrats and other stakeholders not only in India but also in the world. The programme was launched on July 1, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking about India’s path toward digitalisation, Nandan Nilekani, often known as the man behind ‘Aadhar’, the world’s largest biometric ID system, in an interaction with Morgan Stanley’s Ridham Desai exclusively on Zee Business channel, listed three things that have made remarkable changes in the lives of citizens of India. 

First and foremost is Aadhar, the ID. The Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys said that the unique ID gives a sense of inclusion and belonging to the people of India now. They can show their cards which can be authenticated or verified online or offline anytime, anywhere. Aadhaar has enabled the residents to prove that s/he is the one who s/he claims to be and it instills more confidence and trust between person to person and person to system. Further, Aadhaar is also a game changer for the poor and marginalised. Today they can get subsidies and benefits, and seek jobs with a reliable identity in the form of an Aadhaar. 

Second is KYC – know your customers. Nilekani said we built some called KYC through which one can open a bank account or get a mobile connection and then the government launched the Jan Dhan Yojana programme, to make financial inclusion. Nilekani added that a few hundred million people opened their bank accounts and they were able to do so using the KYC. So, electronic KYC accelerated financial inclusion which allowed more people to participate in the economy. So, Aadhar-KYC then became the instrument of access for citizens into the banking system and mobile industry. 

Earlier, Nilekani also opined that today’s India is much different from what it was three decades ago when Infosys – “India’s first original startup” was founded. At that time, it was difficult to do business and to convince people why a bunch of first-generation guys want to start a company. However, today, the scenario is much different. People are full of confidence and there is a sense among citizens of India that “our time has come”, Nilekani added.

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