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Nandan Nilekani’s ideas for India’s future

The NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman has this to say about Nandan Nilekani:

“Seattle has Bill. Bangalore has Nandan. What makes Nilekani unique? For me it comes down to one phrase: great explainer.”

Nandan Nilekani, the visionary co-founder of outsourcing pioneer Infosys, explains four brands of ideas that will determine whether India can continue its recent breakneck progress. In this talk presented earlier this year to an international audience in Long Beach, California – Nandan talks about – Ideas that have arrived, Ideas in progress, Ideas in conflict and Ideas in anticipation.

Ideas that have arrived:

  • The shift in perception that people are not burden, but human capital.
  • The demographic dividend India is enjoying from the young population. The South and West of India will be fully expensed by 2025 and the North is to offer future demographic dividend.
  • Entrepreneurs have become role models.
  • Attitude towards English language – English becoming a language of aspiration.
  • From Technology seen as intimidating to Technology seen as empowering.
  • More comfortable with globalization today.
  • From viewing Democracy as an elite concept to embracing it as a bottom up process.

            Nandan Nilekani's ideas for India's future

The Indian Government has recently appointed Nandan Nilekani as the chairperson of Unique Identification Authority, formed to issue IDs to every citizen in the country

Ideas in progress: (Ideas that are not argued but still unable to implement)

  • Primary education has arrived, but not implemented
  • Focus on Infrastructure. The slogan changing from “food, clothing, shelter” to “electricity, water and roads“.
  • From neglecting cities to considering cities as engines for innovation.
  • India as a single market – internal globalization

Ideas in conflict: (Ideas we argue)

  • Ideological difference, reservation, subsidy, etc… causing grid lock
  • Labor policies – causing road blocks for entrepreneurs.
  • Unorganized labor – Preventing large population from the benefits that organized labor can offer.
  • Higher education

Ideas in anticipation:

  • E-governance, technology
  • Health issues
  • Environment and development

The finishing note is very impressive where Nandan makes a good case on why the world should be interested in India’s success.