For a man at the helm of a slew of crucial projects worth thousands of crores, Nandan Nilekani’s office at the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) in Delhi is starkly minimalist. The workstation is more reflective of the fast-moving IT sector where he has spent the last two decades. But then, Nilekani isn’t your typical government appointee either. He’s that rare Indian species—a technocrat in power. And he’s on a roll.
With support coming right from the top of the political citadel, Nilekani is the new poster boy of the UPA government. After less than a year in office with UIDAI, this newcomer’s powers and authority have been ramped up. He’s recently been asked to head the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP), which oversees technology and processes of mega projects for the finance ministry—the Tax Information Network, Goods and Services Tax, New Pension Scheme, National Treasury Management Agency and Expenditure Information Network.