From earning Rs 91 lakh annually as one of India’s most respected IT czars, he will join the government with a cabinet minister rank, with a salary of Rs 81 lakh, minus perks.
Nandan Nilekani, 54, who helped build India’s second largest software exporting firm, Infosys Technologies, was appointed chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India, a Rs 1,990-crore national project to build India’s database of her billion-plus people.
The database will comprise a unique permanent identity number assigned to every individual that would remain from birth to death. It would also mean citizens won’t have to produce multiple proofs of identity.
“I believe this is a transformation opportunity I can do something about,” Nilekani told television channel CNBC-TV18.
“This organisation is like a start-up within the government," Nilekani said.
Nilekani will shift to Delhi and expects the first Citizen Card under the scheme to roll out in 12 to 18 months.
Time magazine has counted the IIT Mumbai alumnus in its world’s 100 most influential people twice, in 2006 and 2009.
Forbes Asia declared Nilekani – estimated to have a net worth of US 1.3 billion in 2007 (Rs 63 billion) -- as ‘Business Leader of the Year’ in 2006.