Nandan Nilekani joins Indian government

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TED2009 speaker Nandan Nilekani has stepped down from the company he co-founded, Infosys, to take a cabinet-level role in the Indian government. It’s a rare step in Indian politics — in fact, the Times of India calls Nilekani’s move “the biggest movement from private sector to government in India in recallable memory.” Nilekani will head up a three-year program to provide every Indian with a unique identity card. From the Times story:

Nilekani, who will quit his job as co-chairman of the Rs 22,000 crore Infosys to avoid any conflict of interest, has been given the rank and status of cabinet minister, a deadline of three years, a corpus of Rs 100 crore and — perhaps most importantly — the flexibility to draw in talent from the private sector to build his core team.

Video: Nilekani talks about his appointment for the Economic Times >>

Nilekani’s recent book, Imagining India, takes a visionary look at his country — its massive economy, and its even more massive potential. Watch his TEDTalk to find out more about his radical re-think of India’s economic and social structure.

And find out more about TEDIndia — taking place this November 1-4, on the Infosys campus near Mysore, India >>