Leadership Examples in IT industry in India

Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon and philanthropist who is the chairman of Wipro Limited, guiding the company through four decades of diversification and growth to emerge as one of the Indian leaders in the software industry. After the demise of his father, Azim Premji took charge of WIPRO when he was 21 instead of taking up a high paid job. He believes in the concept of come easy go easy.

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A money earned was of far more value to him instead of five found. He never let success overwhelm him and constantly learnt from his failures and built an empire which does not need an introduction. He never stopped leaning and is the best example of humility in the software industry. He always strived to find better ways to innovate and treated excellence as journey rather than destiny. He evaluates with calm mind and does whatever is the most appropriate.

At an age when most of the businessmen would retire and live a peaceful life away from stress, he is still active and inspires his employees to not only work but also enjoy the entire process. He is an idol for today’s generation and an epitome who shows us on how to live life without compromising on our core values. His desire to stretch and achieve which seem beyond one’s grasp is the most inspiring characteristic. His down to earth nature is visible from his charities.

Nandan Nilekani is considered among the most successful business leaders from India. He has several accolades and awards to his name which are proofs of his tremendously rich leadership in fostering Infosys first and now the UIDAI. Nandan Nilekani was born in Bangalore, Karnataka on June 2, 1955 as the younger son of Durga and Mohan Rao Nilekani.

He grew up as a typical middle class child high on traditional and moral values. As a child, Nilekani was extremely brilliant and had good leadership skills. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and joined the Mumbai based software firm Patni Computers where he came into acquaintance with Mr. N R Narayan Murthy who later founded Infosys Technologies with Nandan and his associates.

Nilekani was known for his bold leadership style and risk taking behaviour. He co-founded Infosys Technologies with his colleagues and a starting capital of $250 after three years with Patni. Despite having considerably less experience, he moved to the US in 1981 handling the marketing and development effort for Infosys. In 1987, he came back to India and in March 2002, he took over as the Chief Executive Officer of Infosys Technologies.

Nilekani stressed in bringing about an excellence in execution within Infosys. He transformed the business at Infosys by division into verticals such as financial services, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, etc. emphasizing on values such as timely completion of projects on budget, hiring of high quality employees, excellent training programmes and high client and employee satisfaction. It was under his leadership that the global delivery model emerged as it is known today.

Nilekani recognised the global nature of Infosys as it was emerging with a high number of employees and huge bio-diversity. Under his leadership, Infosys was awarded several awards such as “Best Company to Work for” and “India’s Best Managed Company Award”. His entrepreneurial skills inspire the present generation to take all responsibilities head on and increase the hunger of success.


1. Explain the personality of the leaders based on Big 5 model. Cite instances to support your view.

Big Five Model states that five basic dimensions underlie all others and encompass most of the significant variation in human personality. The following are the Big Five factors on which the personality of Azim Premji is evaluated against:

The Big 5 personality traits are: (OCEAN)

1. Openness to experience: (Openness to new ideas)
Azim Premji has been very open to ideas and experiences. After the death of his Father in 1966, the 22-year old scion to the hydrogenated-oil manufacturing firm returned to manage the business and diversified the company into other areas such as lightning products, soaps, etc. Also, the coming-up of Wipro as the leading IT Company was foreseen by Azim Premji.

2. Conscientiousness: (Show self-discipline and aim for achievement against expectations) In the span of 50 years, Wipro has transformed to one of the leading R & D service providers of the world. One of the popular Azim Premji anecdotes was when he attended his first annual general meeting. A shareholder doubted Premji’s ability to handle business at such a young age and publicly advised him to sell his shareholding and give it to a more mature management.

This spurred Azim Premji and made him all the more determined to make Wipro a success story. His conscientiousness can also be seen in the focused efforts the CSR initiatives that the “Azim Premji Foundation” undertakes.

3. Extraversion: (Energy creation from external means; gregariousness) Azim Premji is considered to be an introvert. He maintains a measured engagement with the media. This can also be discerned from the relatively less number of news articles on Azim Premji (about 3000).

4. Agreeableness:
One of the most famous quotes by Azim Premji is “We must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong.” Also, he was one of the few corporate leaders in India who spoke out against the populist CSR measures taken by the Government of India.

5. Neuroticism: (Tendency to experience negative emotions)
Azim Premji’s ability to manage the business in the face of difficult situations is a proof of his emotional stability. Time and again, he has
shown dedication to his work and duties; even when faced with a grave personal loss (death of his Father).

2. What are the values of the organization or group the leaders represent? What are their personal values? Substantiate your claims by evidence.

Wipro had 3 Values as stated on its Website (Popularly known as SPIRIT OF WIPRO):

Intensity To Win:
For Wipro It is not about winning at all costs, neither is it about winning every time, nor about winning at the expense of others. It is about working together to create a synergy; realizing that I win when my team wins, my team wins when Wipro wins, and Wipro wins when its customers win and when its stakeholders win. It is about innovating all the time. It is a continuous endeavor to do better than the last time. It is the Spirit of fortitude, the Spirit of never letting go… ever.

This is evident from the product extension of Wipro in various fields possible from its flagship product of vegetable oil to lightning products, from Computer software to FMCG product like soap.

For this spirit of Play to win made Wipro achieve following: Wipro ranks 11th in the first edition of Interbrand’s ‘Best Indian Brands’ study, 2013. Global Telecoms Business recognizes Wipro with the ‘Wholesale Service Innovation Award 2013′ for their unique IT R&D Partnership Project. Wipro cited as a Leader in Sustainable Technology Services by Independent Analyst Firm.

Act with Sensitivity:
At its highest vision, respect for the individual is unqualified. The core of this sensitivity lies in understanding that every being, however different, is equal. The spirit of democracy underlies our notion of sensitivity. It believes in true respect meaning creating conditions in which every individual grows to realize his/her promise and potential. As quoted on its website “We are responsible for, and have an obligation to live in harmony with, our ecological environment. We should actively act to preserve nature, and refrain from any action that harms ecology.”

This Act with Sensitivity led them to bag the following awards: Wipro is the highest ranked gadget maker in Greenpeace’s latest green guide to electronics 2012. Ranked 2nd in the Workplace Diversity & Inclusivity category in India’s Best Places to Work For Study -2012 conducted by Great Places to Work Institute.

Unyielding Integrity:
Integrity is a commitment to searching for and acting on the truth. “Truth” is a word with many manifestations – it means keeping one’s word; it also means understanding and realizing the highest vision of oneself. As quoted on website “I am the litmus test of my integrity. For integrity is the manifestation of conscience.” Wipro’s code of conduct for employees says it all: Don’t do anything that you’re unwilling to have published in tomorrow’s newspaper with your photograph next to it. It’s that kind of Integrity that has catapulted Premji and Wipro to unprecedented heights.

Personal Values:
Azim Premji, the businessman, practices what he preaches. When it comes to upholding personal values, there’s no margin for error. He followed 2 principles throughout his life. They are: Value For Money:

If ‘value for money’ was a guiding principle of Premji’s life, so was his practical nature. Although Wipro was well regarded, stories current in Bangalore at that time about Azim Premji related to his ‘careful about money’ habits. Azim Premji flew economy class and there was this tale about him taking an auto from the airport after disembarking from a flight and not finding his car.

Everybody in Bangalore knew that he was a rich guy who was extremely simple and would do things such as borrowing magazines from the staff periodical pool with the promise of returning them later. It was not unusual for Premji to land up at the premises of customers for a sales pitch for his computers. If a good order could be bagged — and this could be anywhere in India — Premji disregarded his high status and became a salesman.

This was the value which he admires the most. One of the incident for which this principle is found to be evident in Premji is when Wipro managers speak in awe of the time they received a terse message that their chairman was flying down to Bangalore for a meeting. It was clear that something major was in the offing. Premji came straight to the point. A senior general manager of the company had been given marching orders because he had inflated a travel bill. The man’s contribution to the company was significant; the bill’s amount was not. Yet he had to go for this solitary lapse. It was, Premji stressed, a matter of principles.

3. What are some of the major conflicts that these leaders have confronted? Who were the stakeholders? How did they resolve the conflict? Were they able to live up to the expectations of all stakeholders?

Conflict of Wipro:-
In 2000 Wipro came out with an IPO of American Depository Shares (ADS) in the United States. Wipro offered a commonly utilized and Securities and Exchange Commission approved Directed Share Program (DSP) that allowed employees and clients of Wipro to purchase ADSs at the IPO market price. Their clients also included the World Bank staff to whom Wipro allowed to purchase shares at market price.

The Program’s objective was to involve employees and customers with the public offering to expand recognition and brand of Wipro, but the World Bank in June 2007 determined that this was a conflict of interest. The World Bank deemed the IT firm ineligible to bid for direct contracts from IT sector for the period 2007-2011. The multilateral lender banned Wipro in June 2007 from doing business with the group under its corporate procurement program.

Effects of ban on Wipro by World Bank:-
The ban came to light in January 2009. Shares of Wipro were down by more than 10% when news came out after two years of ban. Employees of Wipro were under fear after what happened in Satyam. They were worried about future of their career as well as the future of the company.

Leadership of the Chairman of the company – Mr. Azim Premji:- At this time, Mr. Azim Premji led Wipro from the front. He wrote a letter to 1,00,000 employees of Wipro. He denied allegations of providing improper benefits to Bank staff. He gave assurance to employees that all participants in the program signed a conflict of interest statement and their purchase did not violate any ethics or conflict of interest policies of their company.

He said business ethics is their top priority while dealings with all stakeholders of Wipro. According to his letter, Wipro’s success over the decades has been built on the foundation of its values. Mr. Azim Premji was able to gain confidence from employees of Wipro. Wipro passed that difficult phase and continued their success story. World Bank lifted the ban on Wipro in 2011. It is now the fourth largest IT Company in India. Azim premji has shown us what effective leadership can do.

2. What are the CSR initiatives that these leaders support? Give examples.

CSR Initiatives taken by Azim Premji:
Azim Premji has already given 25% of his wealth to charity. Azim Premji has become the first Indian to sign up for the “Giving Pledge”, an undertaking by large-hearted billionaires to dedicate a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Azim Premji’s biggest CSR initiative has been the establishment of “Azim Premji Foundation.”

Azim Premji Foundation:
Azim Premji Foundation was established in 2001 with a vision to contribute to education that facilitates a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. Their approach has been to focus all their resources and efforts on systemic change and improvement in quality of education in the government schools. The foundation has focussed on following areas while working with the government:

Teacher Education
Azim Premji Foundation’s teacher education programs have sought to build capacity in the existing education functionaries in terms of their perspectives, subject matter knowledge, competencies and motivation levels. Since inception, they have worked with over 50,000 government school teachers across 8 states.

Education Leadership and Management
Azim Premji Foundation has developed about 3500 education functionaries in the state of Karnataka, including principals of schools in a unique effort involving training of master development facilitators for extended periods of time through classroom training and field projects. Examination Reforms

Following Azim Premji Foundation’s work in the area, about 8 districts in 5 states have changed the way they conduct examinations for students up to 5th standard and the state of Karnataka has introduced external competency based evaluation. Technology in Education

The Foundation initiated the Computer Aided Learning programme in the year 2002 to harness the potential of computer technology for education. The objectives of the programme were to make learning enjoyable and assessment fun, for all students. To this end, the Foundation created syllabus-based bi/trilingual multimedia content. It is probably the largest developer of Digital Learning Resources that address curricular issues of children from classes 3 to 8 in 18 languages (including four tribal languages). 2.5 million Children in 20,000 schools have used these resources across 16 states.

Other Initiatives by Wipro:
Wipro Care:
“Wipro Cares” engages with communities in our proximate locations. The primary objectives of Wipro Cares are to support the developmental needs of marginalized communities in cities and towns where Wipro has a large presence. They have four core areas of work – education, health care, environment and disaster rehabilitation. Wipro Cares is currently engaged in 12 projects across India.

Through its five health care projects in three states of India, Wipro Cares is providing more than 50,000 people access to primary health care. More than 70,000 children benefit from the six education projects in five Indian cities and one Indian village. Their project in social forestry has helped plant more than 50,000 trees and has at the same time provided livelihood to around 40 farmers.

Employee engagement is an integral part of Wipro Cares where they encourage employees to volunteer with our partners, acting thus as catalysts in bringing about positive change. Apart from these core areas, as part of the long term process that is typically involved in the rehabilitation of communities affected by natural calamities, Wipro offers its employees the opportunity to engage meaningfully with the affected communities.

Mission 10X:
Mission10X is a not-for-profit trust of Wipro, launched on September 5, 2007, with an aim to enhance the employability skills of engineering graduates in India. It aims to achieve this by collaborating with academicians & leading educational institutions across the country. The Mission10X Learning Approach empowers engineering faculty with innovative teaching techniques using which they can help learners in imbibing higher level of understanding of subjects, application of concepts learned and development of key behavioural skills.

Since its launch, Mission10X has gained tremendous recognition and momentum in the field of engineering education. Mission10X has reached out to over 1,200 engineering colleges across 25 States in India and has empowered over 23,000 engineering faculty members.

The core of Wipro’s social and community initiatives is focused on responsible and deep engagement with all stakeholders – present and future generations. Eco-eye is the way they see themselves and their engagement with stakeholders – on the journey to more sustainable business practices. The initiative focuses on reducing ecological footprint of their business operations, engagement with employees and supply chain, partners and customers to create a more sustainable society, and transparent reporting/disclosures.

The ecological dimensions of their operations are focused on energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste/pollution management and recently enhancing biodiversity–they have set stretch targets for each of them. Moving beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations, engagement with employees focuses on health and safety, people development, and increasing diversity and inclusivity at workplace are their important considerations. Close collaboration with suppliers to reduce their own ecological footprint and help meet and exceed labour and human rights norms is a key focus area. NANDAN NILEKANI

1. Explain the personality of the leaders based on Big 5 model. Cite instances to support your view.

Big Five Model states that five basic dimensions underlie all others and encompass most of the significant variation in human personality. The following are the Big Five factors on which the personality of Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and ex- CEO & ex-MD of Infosys is evaluated against: The Big 5 personality traits are: (OCEAN)

1. Openness to experience.
Nandan Nilekani’s career graph shows him to be a risk taker. He started his career in an IT firm as an engineer which he later quit to start his own business with his five other colleagues. Then, from an entrepreneur, he became a technocrat in the government in charge of transformational projects. Now, speculations are rife about his joining government by contesting elections from Bangalore constituency. He has also authored a book on ideas that have made India titled ‘Imagining India’. In his own words he describes his journey so far as from being an ideator to a change initiator.

2. Conscientiousness
The biggest trait of a highly conscientious person is that he is reliable and responsible. Nandan Nilekani scores high on this parameter. Only a person who is deemed responsible and dependable can be made the chief of the biggest initiative by government. Other than that, he has also served as a member of the National Knowledge Commission, formed by the prime minister to reform higher education in India. In his stint at Infosys, its revenues grew fivefold.

This shows the immense trust that the shareholders have on his leadership capability. He is well organized and persistent in his efforts. He has managed to issue 380 million AADHAR cards so far which is consistent with his target of 400 million AADHAR cards by 2013. 3. Extraversion

Nandan Nilekani is an extravert because he exudes gregariousness, is assertive and sociable. In 1981, Nandan Nilekani along with Narayan Murthy and five others co-founded Infosys. If he wouldn’t have been an extravert then probably he would have still remained as an employee of “Patni Computers” where he worked initially with the other co-founders of Infosys. Also, on his last day at Infosys, he made a speech that brought his assertive nature to the fore. It read “I am generally very articulate but this is not the day or place where I can be articulate.

I’ve been wrapped up in Infosys for 28 years. My only identity is Infosys. I will be going to lead a programme to give identity to every Indian. But today I am losing my identity…But, in my new role, I’m supposed to work with 600 government departments knowing fully well that no two government departments get along with one other.” Also people close to him and the employees who have worked under him know him as a good orator and communicator.

4. Agreeableness
Nandan Nilekani ranks high on the agreeableness dimension. He is known to be cooperative, warm and trusting. Mohandas Pai, co-founder of Infosys and a close aide of Nilekani says that he listens to all stakeholders, but has the capacity to take decisions. Also when he left Infosys to join UIDAI as its chief, many of his employees too left Infosys to join him in UIDAI. Even in UIDAI, he willingly subscribes to its rules, but at the same time also constantly looks for openings to subtly sell his ideas.

5. Neuroticism
Nandan Nilekani is a positively stable person. The desire and urgency to serve a larger good has seen Nilekani and his wife, Rohini, give away hundreds of crores of their personal wealth—which Forbes estimates at $1.3 billion (about Rs. 9,000 crore), as of March 2013, largely from their Infosys shareholding—to educational institutions, and organisations that work to address some of the basic human needs.

Some of this thinking is influenced by Nilekani’s father, Mohan Rao, a manager in a textile company and a Nehruvian. Nilekani is considered the Bill Gates of our very own silicon valley for his benevolence and Samaritan acts. 2. What are the values of the organization or group the leaders represent? What are their personal values? Substantiate your claims by evidence.

Hard work & sacrifice:
I learned the value of give and take. I learned that there is the need to sacrifice your own wants in favour of someone else. I also believe in the popular saying: Let all living beings prosper. Another feature that this leader represents is the quest for knowledge. He stresses that success depends on continual learning. He also believes in the fact that ultimately hard work pays. He says that value system is very important as it acts as a guiding light in times of darkness, confusion and self-doubt, and when faced with moral dilemma.

Leadership by example:
Nandan Nilekani believes that transferring the values and beliefs of the organization to the next generation leaders is one of the most important functions. He is actively involved in the company’s leadership development workshops and mentoring activities. He believes that future leaders need to learn how to set direction, to create a shared vision, encourage execution excellence, embrace inclusive meritocracy.

The company recognizes the importance of nurturing relationships that reflect our culture of unwavering ethics and mutual respect. The company behaves ethically and honestly in all its interactions – with the clients, partners and employees.

Right of Liberty:
The company has unwritten rules. Everybody knows that if we want to work as a team we have to be transaction based. We start every transaction on a zero base. It is perfectly feasible for us to disagree on a transaction but we start the next transaction without any bias. Only an argument that has merit wins; it has nothing to do with hierarchy.

Disagreeing is in the nature of things. When you bring a set of people who have respect for each other’s competence in certain areas and you’re transaction-oriented then it can work as it has in our case. In Infosys, we have consciously brought about a respect and dignity for every individual.

Pursuit of Excellence:
We at Infosys take a long-term view of our business and life. We remember that success is, generally ephemeral. We remember that we are only as good as the results of our last quarter. Infosys has always placed a premium upon recruiting people with a high learnability quotient.

Personal Values:
Excerpts from an interview with the Indian Express
“When I address new hires, the main thing I talk to them about is the value system. I tell them that even in the fiercest competitive situation they must never talk ill of customers. For heaven’s sake don’t short change anybody. Never ever violate any law of the land. It is better to lose a billion dollars than a good night’s sleep. It is a true meritocracy.”

Once Nandan Nilekani was having lunch with Mihir S Sharma. They ordered something to eat and Nandan waited patiently for the food to arrive. The steward finally arrives. He received an education in how Important People are treated in restaurants. He’d rather be unimportant: mainly because it is assumed Important People are Too Busy to Order. The steward asks them if they want vegetables, chicken or meat, and tells them he’ll do the rest. Before he can interpose a panicked reply, Nilekani says: “dim sum.” The steward rushes off, and brings them a random selection.

They’re terrible: undercooked and flavourless. Nilekani calls the steward over, and asks for the restaurant’s hottest sauce. The steward points to one on the table. Nilekani Smiles and picks up the sauce on his own. He understands that even the steward is a busy man and can get frustrated by his job. This clearly indicates the degree to which Nilkeni understands human behaviour and respects others.

One, stay a technocrat, as he has been since 2009, when he was handpicked by
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to lead a project to issue unique identity numbers to every Indian. Two, come in as a member of the Rajya Sabha, which does not require a mandate from the people, and be a minister like Jairam Ramesh or even Manmohan Singh. Three, in what will be the most challenging personally and professionally for Nilekani, a member of the Lok Sabha, elected by the people. This indicates value of excellence in Mr. Nilekani.

Former Infosys chief and chairman of Unique Identification Development Authority of India Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini have announced Rs. 50 crore philanthropic grants to the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) to fund the establishment of a School of Environment and Sustainability. This indicates the generous nature of Mr. Nilekani.

The principle of building and implementing great ideas that drive progress for clients and enhance lives through enterprise solutions. Mr. Nilekani has constantly endeavoured in bringing to life great ideas and enterprise solutions. His efforts in developing a unique identification project which aims at issuing identity to all Indian residents is commendable.

4. What are some of the major conflicts that these leaders have confronted? Who were the stakeholders? How did they resolve the conflict? Were they able to live up to the expectations of all stakeholders?

Nandan Nilekani’s life seems like a smooth ride if you have a look at it. He has handled the conflicts in his personal or professional life so properly that you will feel like they weren’t even there. But, there were some brickwalls which he had to overcome. The two biggest conflicts in his life were: ‘To take care of newly started Infosys’s interests in US’ and of course, ‘the UID or Aadhar card project implementation’. To take care of newly started Infosys’s interests in US:

After walking out of Patni with Narayan Murthy and co-founding the Infosys with him, Nandan Nilekani moved to US to take care of Infosys’s interest there. He was the face of the Infosys in US and did a brilliant job in expanding its business. This part doesn’t necessarily seem as a big conflict but this was a really important phase for Infosys before it went public in 1993. Even when Infosys went public in 1993, no one picked up the stock.

Among the first people Nandan Nilekani tried to sell the Infy stock before the Initial Public Offering was his IIT Bombay senior by one year, and now Union minister, Jairam Ramesh. So, I think the answer to this conflict in question is more related to his personality and his ability to give his team or co-workers a direction towards improvement through simple and logical questions that would properly analyse their work as well as its efficiency. Mr. Nandan Nilekani has a quick mind but at the same time he is very patient and a superb listener. He is quick in doing 360 degree analysis about any problems and is quick to ask the questions on exact points too.

With these qualities he expanded the number of Infosys’ clients as well as provided them work the quality they needed. Even though, he makes it look effortless, it’s his experience, his quizzical & quick mind and his innovative thinking that makes this possible. With all these traits, he contributed to Infosys immensely and became its CEO in 2002. It was Nilekani who put Infosys on the global map and coined the phrase “flat world”, which inspired Thomas Friedman to title his book ‘The World is Flat’. The UID or Aadhar card project implementation:

When Nandan Nilekani began working on providing a unique identification number to half of India’s billion-plus people four years ago, he ran into a wall of problems. The main criticism was that 120bn rupees (£1.72bn; $1.89bn) project was also the world’s biggest biometric exercise. Not surprisingly Mr Nilekani, info-tech whizz turned head of the Unique Identification Authority of India, faced tough questions over access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, securing of confidential information by the government and threats of budget cuts.

A parliamentary panel even trashed the idea, saying it would be “misused”. When all these were cleared the whole project was called directionless. The major stakeholders in this case were: He himself, Government, Opposition, Indian population and UIDAI. Nandan Nilekani persevered really hard, day and night to answer these questions and handled each one of them professionally and answering them with his actions. As his wife said in one of the interview, “For 30 years Infosys consumed him and now it is UIDAI.” That’s how much he is involved.

When the certain journalists went for the interview at his house, Nandan and Rohini Nilekani had just returned from a workshop at the National Law School in Bangalore where he had brainstormed with a group of legal experts on how to create the legal framework for the UIDAI. A week before that he was in Bihar where he had had a 90-minute lunch meeting at chief minister Nitish Kumar’s house.

The day after the interview, Nilekani was flying off to Mumbai to meet the Maharashtra chief minister. In the four months before the interview took place, he had met 12 CMs to explain to them the intricacies of the UID project and ask for their support in enrolling people into the program.

When he was interviewed about all this and why did he take up a project that was risky and that might face such a huge criticism, he said it was mainly because he was restless. He mentioned, “I thrive on challenges and new intellectual issues. I had to show that I could execute something outside my normal world. So there was that desire to prove myself again.” There was one more reason – the feeling that he needed to give something back to the country. Nilekani was aware that he came to this job with a certain “brand perception”.

He was famous and wealthy and while these two attributes can help in opening many doors, there were people inside the government who did not believe that he understood the problems and issues of the poor. That is why he launched what he called an “outreach programme” where he made the first move in reaching out to various organizations and departments inside the government and public sector. Nilekani has been able to successfully complete the UID project and it has shown far reaching benefits. It has improved the delivery of social welfare programs, lead to more inclusion of the underprivileged, brought down the government’s transaction costs and plugged leaks and fraud in welfare schemes.

But the implications of Nilekani’s role go far beyond the UID. He was one of the most high profile hires made by the Manmohan Singh government in the project. There were two implications – if he succeeds, a lot more people from the private sector and academic world will step forward to work with the government but if he fails that movement could slow down, which is why so many people across the country were watching this move so closely. Mr Nilekani was well-aware of the risks.

As he himself says, “In the private sector, nine out of 10 start-ups usually fail and the UID too is like a start-up.” He knew that his prior success didn’t guarantee success in this world and if he didn’t deliver the consequences would be large and four years on, Mr Nilekani – the famous co-founder of Infosys, the $7bn Indian info-tech behemoth – believes he has been able to allay fears. One of his biggest strengths at Infosys was building consensus and breaking down a complex problem and get people to identify the specific parts where they could not agree.

The other was his supreme networking skills. And he put both of them to good use in UIDAI. He certainly silenced the critics with superb execution of the project, cleared all the doubts of the stakeholders and Indian people and even grass root politicians and provided people with Aadhar Card – their UID.

5. What are the CSR initiatives that these leaders support? Give examples.

Nandan Nilekani himself is not an organisation or is not heading any profit making organisation so it is not mandatory upon him to devote 2% of his earnings towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. In fact he has right now devoted his complete time towards society by spearheading the UIDAI project. He is the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIADAI). This project is aimed at creating a complete database of the Indian population in order for the government to reach out to the masses in a more effective manner.

Besides this Mr. Nandan Nilekani’s wife Rohini Nilekani has been involving herself into a lot of social work which could be indirectly termed that she has been doing on his behalf. Recently Mrs Rohini Nilekani raised about Rs 163.58 crore by selling 5.77 lakh of her shares of the IT services company for philanthropic work. Mrs Rohini Nilekani recently stated that she has taken philanthropic initiatives in multiple sectors such as education, water, environment and governance among others.

The proceeds of the sale of shares, post tax, are being deployed towards these and other philanthropic contributions. This was just a one-off social task undertaken by them. Besides this on a full time basis they have a non-profit organisation named Arghyam. Arghyam grants funds to organisations, which implement and manage groundwater and sanitation projects in India. Arghyam has made grants to recipients in 22 states of India since 2005, the year of its founding.

Arghyam, a foundation she set up with a private endowment, to work on water and sanitation issues in India. Apart from this Mrs Rohini Nilekani is also Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a charitable trust which seeks to put “A book in every child’s hand.” All these initiatives it could be assumed are being undertaken by her but it cannot be denied that the source of income or the free movement of all projects undertaken by her have a bearing signature of her husband which can be easily noticed. When Mr. Nandan Nilekani was asked the reason for his leaving Infosys it was found out that he had a feeling that he needed to give something back to the country.

It was feeling that lead him to develop the country’s first unique identification scheme that hopes to cover all of India in phases and give a unique number as exists in all other developed countries. Mr. Nandan Nilekani like his wife does not believe in philanthropy is the way to alleviate poverty and inequality. He rather believes that social work for the country can only be carried out by working with the government.

He has also been trying to enter into politics and has a belief that if one academically successful man is able to enter politics and is able to help India there would be more who would get into it. A person who is working for the government in a selfless manner is the most apt example for social responsibility being carried out and Nandan Nilekani is doing that thing in the best possible manner there could be. REFERENCES

‘Value for money’ – an article on Azim Premji in Times Of India (03 December 2010)–Take-charge-of-your-career-destiny

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