‘India’s economic growth will be driven by services and not manufacturing’ – Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of UIDAI at Think Next Summer 2016, Microsoft Accelerator’s flagship forum. He was there to speak on ‘An alternate view of the future: India in the age of technological disruption.’


He mentioned that the growth of the Indian economy will be driven by services with manufacturing and outsourcing starting to reverse given the rise of technologies like IoT, robotics and 3D printing.

According to Nilekani, the mobile phone is  the first universal electronic product with the sales number crossing 300 million per quarter. The internet penetration has also surged to 370 million users in India. The country is expected to have 700 million smartphone users by 2020 making it a bright spot in the international smartphone market.

Aadhaar – The largest digital infrastructure for identity

With one billion users in five and a half years, Aadhaar will likely become the world’s largest digital infrastructure for identity. Nilekani mentioned that though there are only 10 to 12 platform in the world with billion users including Microsoft (Office, Windows), Facebook, Google, Android and Youtube; Aadhaar is the fastest among all to reach the billion user mark. South Korean tech giant Samsung recently launched 7 inch Galaxy Tab Iris for Rs 13,499 to support digital authentication supporting an Iris scanner for biometric authentication.

Nandan averred that the digital payments are  going to take off in India with 270 million Aadhaar linked bank accounts. Currently, 77,000 in number, micro ATMs in India allow users to withdraw money from Aadhaar linked bank account..

Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) which was launched five years ago, is facilitating 2000 crore transactions per year. To fuel financial inclusion, Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana on August 28, 2014 and within 21 months, over 220 million accounts were opened with Rs 38,000 crore deposited under the scheme.

Nilekani, who is an Advisor to National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), believes that in order to create a mass system, one need to reduce the on-boarding cost. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has emerged a winner as it brings down the complexity levels and only your mobile number needs to be registered with your UPI compliant bank. With UPI, customers are no longer required to give their personal credentials like account details and security pins. Users can also make payments with Aadhaar authentication and m-pin.

Employment opportunities

Ravi Narayan, Global Director, Microsoft Accelerator and Nagaraj Ijari, VP and Global Head – Hi-Tech Industry Solutions Unit, TCS
Ravi Narayan, Global Director, Microsoft Accelerator and Nagaraj Ijari, VP and Global Head – Hi-Tech Industry Solutions Unit, TCS

According to Nilekani, platforms like Ola, Uber, Prcato and Flipkart have created thousands of jobs not only inside the companies but also in the ecosystem they have created. For example, Uber has only 6500 employees but it supports 1.5 million cars and drivers.

“The progress India has made in IT and entrepreneurship over the past four decades, has radically changed the landscape offering new entrepreneurs unmatched opportunities.,” said Ravi Narayan, Global Director, Microsoft Accelerator.

Microsoft Accelerator in India and TCS Co-Innovation Network (COIN) today announced a joint initiative to create a platform to boost the growth of Indian startup ecosystem. Under the collaboration, startups will get access to Microsoft and TCS’ networks and relationships across customers, investors, academia and industry, creating a strong value proposition in the enterprise marketplace.