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Governance 2.0

L to R: Viral Shah, Nandan Nilekani, Reuben Abraham

MUMBAI, 7 November 2015 - In a path breaking conversation, Asia Society India Centre was delighted to welcome the authors of 'Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations,' Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India and Viral Shah, Founding Partner, Julia Computing, in conversation with Reuben Abraham, CEO and Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute.

Nilekani and Shah began the evening by highlighting their experiences whilst creating the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). They elucidated not only on the merits of the UIDAI, but also on how these experiences helped them create a road map for the nation's growth using technology.

Acknowledging that technology is the only method to remedy India's problems with speed and scale, Nilekani emphasized the importance of creating ten person start-ups, within the Government to address some of India's most pressing problems. The UIDAI is one such success story that accomplished its goals before time and in a more cost effective manner. Nilekani also highlighted the importance of using technology in governance as it provides scalable, cost effective solutions that enable horizontal problem solving.

Shah spoke about the various technology solutions that could be used to make India a cashless, paperless society that integrates the Indian economy. The nation's political, health, judicial and education systems could also be made vastly more effective through the use of technology.

Through the course of the discussion Abraham asked many significant questions that highlighted how encouraging entrepreneurship within the government could enable many cutting edge and great things to happen in a cost effective manner, for the nation. The implementation of these visions as Abraham rightly mentioned would redefine the Government.

Merging concepts of open source technology with Indian politics, Nilekani and Shah aptly stated that the Government as a platform needs to be flexible and applicable, with governmental institutions specifying little and allowing the markets and innovators to modify the rest.

Nilekani referring to the successes of the UIDAI, said, "If you have a large enough vision with which you can energize and enthuse the people, magic happens" and we certainly hope to be seeing more of this magic in India in the coming years.

Video: Watch the complete program (1 hr., 40 min.)

Reported by: Antaraa Vasudev, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre. 

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