The Great Debate (India)

Nilekani: Infosys’ loss or government’s gain?

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India’s Silicon Valley is saying goodbye to Nandan Nilekani, the engineer-entrepreneur who co-founded Infosys Technologies and helped put India on the global IT map.

A statemeINDIA-PEPSICO/nt from the country’s No. 2 software exporter on Thursday said Nilekani has been invited by the prime minister to head the government agency Unique Identification Authority of India in the rank of a cabinet minister.

Nilekani’s exit throws up several questions — what prompted this co-chairman with a spotless past to take up a government responsibility? In a nation of billion-plus people where corruption is seen putting the brakes on most government initiatives, can Nilekani replay a corporate story of success? Can he bring the same professionalism in the corridors of power at Raisina Hill?

Holding posts of CEO and later MD, he helped propel Infosys, which he co-founded with mentor Narayana Murthy, from scratch to a world-class company “despite the system”.

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