Nandan Nilekani is guest at e-Adda today

THE GOVERNMENT’S focus on harnessing technology to ensure last-mile digital delivery of its welfare schemes and services has been gaining momentum over the past several years. And the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is among the first globally to make use of technology at a national scale — and shape the idea of Digital India.

Against this background, there can perhaps be no one better today than UIDAI pioneer Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of Infosys and one of the company’s co-founders, to map what lies ahead in India’s digital journey.

Nilekani will be the guest at the e-Adda on Friday, when he will be in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Executive Editor-National Affairs, The Indian Express.

The Express e-Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change.

Nilekani is among the rare entrepreneurs who have successfully led and executed projects in the private and public sector, especially UIDAI, which he agreed to chair in 2009 on a request from the then prime minister Manmohan Singh.

His experience on both sides of the aisle makes him one of the few people who are acutely aware of technology’s benefits and pitfalls: how the internet and Big Tech push the limits between public and private, polarise societies and harden fault-lines. Which is why his new book, “The Art of Bitfulness: Keeping Sane in the Digital World”, couldn’t be better timed.

Nikelani has also co-founded and is chairman of EkStep, a not-for-profit effort to create a technology-based platform to improve basic literacy of millions of children and lay the template for technology as an asset for the greater good.

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Kotak Mahindra Bank MD & CEO Uday Kotak were guests at the E-Adda this year, as these discussions moved online during the pandemic.

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