Infosys Chairman to Head Government Identity Project

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Infosys Technologies' co-chairman, Nandan Nilekani, has quit his post to take up a position with the Indian federal government, with the rank of a cabinet minister.

Nilekani, who was one of the co-founders of Infosys, India's second largest outsourcer, will head a newly created organization, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is charged with creating a system to give every Indian resident a unique identity number, the company said.

The government announced in February that it has made a budget provision for setting up UIDAI of 1 billion Indian rupees (US$20.5 million) for the current fiscal year, which will end on March 31.

The government plans to use the unique ID and a smart card system for the delivery of subsidized products and other social benefits to India's poor. The UIDAI will develop and maintain the database.

Nilekani has served as a director on the Infosys board since it started in 1981. Between March 2002 and June 2007 he was the company's CEO and managing director. He was thereafter designated as the co-chairman of the board of directors.

Indian businessmen are increasingly trying to play a role in government, with a few of them even contesting elections.

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