Nilekani quits Infosys, to head government project (Lead)

June 25th, 2009 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore, June 25 (IANS) Infosys Technologies co-chairman Nandan M. Nilekani, 54, has resigned from the top post and the company board following his appointment as chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by the central government, the IT bellwether announced Thursday.
The UIDAI, an entity under the Planning Commission, has been constituted to provide national identity cards to Indian citizens.

“The board of directors accepted Nilekani’s resignation, which will be effective from July 9. The board placed on record its deep sense of appreciation for the services rendered by Nilekani as a co-founder, chief operating officer, chief executive and managing director and co-chairman,” the company said in a statement here.

Nilekani, who was invited by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take charge as the UIDAI chairperson, will hold a cabinet rank.

“We are glad that an extraordinary individual like Nandan has got an opportunity to add value to India through this position,” Infosys chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy said.

“As a company that has always put the interest of society ahead of itself, Infosys will accept his absence with a sense of duty to a larger cause, but with deep sadness at the departure of one of its most illustrious sons. We, the Infoscions, wish him the best in his new assignment,” he said.

Added Infosys chief executive and managing director S. Gopalakrishnan: “This is a project of national importance. This is something which he (Nilekani) would like to take up.”

As co-founder of the $4.66-billion global software major, Nilekani served as a director since the company’s inception in 1981.

He was the chief executive and managing director from March 2002 to June 2007 and was re-designated as the co-chairman of the company’s board.

Under the UIDAI programme, unique identification cards would be provided to citizens by 2011. In the beginning, the cards will be assigned to all voters by building on current electoral roll data.

“It will work in coordination with the National Population Register of the home ministry through the Registrar General of the Census, in accordance with the Indian Citizenship Act,” the government said in a statement.

“This would not only address security related issues but is also aimed at establishing citizenship, reducing identity related frauds and also prevent leakages in different government schemes.”

Said Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia: “This will be a very superior card. This would really help all of us. We would start testing these on a pilot basis in a year.”

The card will help citizens avail basic government services like driving licenses, passports and voter identity cards.

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