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Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations Hardcover – 4 Nov 2015
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About the Author
Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and former CEO of Infosys Technologies, was founding chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (Aadhaar). Author of the book Imagining India, he was twice listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME. In 2014, he was awarded The Economist’s Innovation Award in the category Economic and Social Innovation. He is chairman of EkStep, a non-profit literacy and numeracy platform.
Viral Shah worked at the intersection of policy and technology at the Unique Identification Authority of India, where he led the design of the government's payments and subsidy platforms using Aadhaar. He is a co-inventor of the Julia programming language, and co-founder of FourthLion Technologies. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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The initial pages in the book give us a background of the AADHAAR project and some behind the scenes narrative which is indeed exciting to read. The book discusses exciting ideas for reforms in different development sectors. They have touched upon social security, education, health, GST, power and energy, justice delivery, our road network and more. I see this as something which is simple to read and understand. Indeed the authors should be lauded for explaining so varied areas in simple language. I wish our school textbooks on ‘civic studies’ were this simple.
Other important thing that I liked about the book is it is not a mere wishful thinking on India’s future as happens with many other authors. Here the author has walked the talk at least for two of the ideas in the book. For many other areas also the authors have argued that AADHAAR could act as a platform for reform.
The length of coverage of the issues is so perfectly balanced that neither it is too shallow to make it superficial nor is it too detailed which only a professional can understand. It also helped me make a holistic understanding of the sector. For example all the talks about the goods and services tax in mainstream media went over the head for me. It was this and the earlier (Imagining India) that gave me a holistic understanding of the tax structure associated with GST. That makes it a promising read. I would give it a 5/5 stars.
Written in 2015, totally relevant in today's context.
Would love a follow up in around 2019....as to where we are w.r.t. the aspirations expressed.
Nandan & Viral gives a roadmap as to how Aadhar could help India realize its aspirations in improving the lives of billion Indians. The ideas presented by both Nandan & Viral are well researched and explains the details on implementation strategy that could transform the way we move forward in a globalized economy. The graphic and pictorial presentation reinforces their ideas and is well presented in a simple language.
Kudos to both Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah for their efforts to show us a way in the midst of complexities of governance and how our political masters could use technology for social transformation. Strongly recommended to those who want to know how providing an Identity Number for all Indians could bring about social change and be foundation for achieving growth and improved governance. All credit goes to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his faith and belief besides offering his unstinted support to Nandan Nilekani & Viral Shah team to realize this monumental task when the majority politicians were skeptical about Aadhar. As you read along you will find that those who initially opposed & wanted to scrap Aadhar realized how wrong they were, when they found out effectiveness of Aadhar when it comes to distribution of subsidies and implementing government social welfare schemes that benefits the millions of Indians below the poverty line.
Every Indian should read this book and I wish this is translated into as many Indian languages so that all Indians know that promise of progress, prosperity and social change in society is not just slogan shouting and of empty promises.
Overall a great book. A must read for those who wish to know about the secret successes of the Aadhar story.
Nandan has given a holistic picture of his stint as UIDAI chief including the challenges a technocrat faces in delivering inside the system. Practical solutions to which foundations have been laid constitute the book. The book makes the reader realize that the potential of Adhaar is extremely H-U-G-E.
The book is written in a simple way with infographics and mind maps which keeps the reader engrossed throughout.
Anyone interested in Public Policy space ought to read this book.
The ideas discussed are pragmatic and provides insights on the FinTech revolution that can happen leveraging Aadhaar and NPCI in addition to other areas related to Democracy, Healthcare, Justice systems, Education and Power.
I have personally seen how implementation of eKYC, Aaadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) has benefited millions of people.
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