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Last Updated Wednesday September 27 2017 01:18 AM IST

Nandan Nilekani and ‘governpreneurship’

P. Kishore
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Nandan Nilekani Nandan Nilekani coined the word 'governpreneurship’ in his new book. AFP/file

The profile of people entering government service is changing in a big way. Compared to people who joined government service because they were good for nothing else, new entrants know IT, have new ideas and are keen to work.

The reason for mentioning it here is Nandan Nilekani. Nandan, who left the chair of Infosys MD to become the chairman of UID Authority and successfully implemented Aadhaar cards, has coined the word 'governpreneurship’ in his new book.

Everyone knows entrepreneurship. Governpreneurship is entrepreneurship in government. When people with new ideas and people with the ability to implement them come together, there will be gains even in government. Didn’t the government implement Aadhaar card despite all objections? That’s governpreneurship.

Thus, ordinary officials who did routine government work turn into ‘governpreneurs’. Isn’t the success of Kudumbasree and CIAL in Kerala examples of governpreneurship? Remember T.K. Jose and V.J. Kurian, because they are governpreneurs.

Even when westerners say this is India’s century, we do not believe it fully. We think they are witless. But Nandan’s book - Rebooting India - says government entrepreneurship will accelerate with Digital India. Government has the scale to do big things and the stability of adequate staff. Though private companies and start-ups grow within a short span, they do not have these attributes. But they have speed, new ideas and the smartness to get things done.

What will happen if these two combine? By 2020 there will be 100 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts, 100 crore Aadhaar cards and 100 crore smartphones in India. Nandan says it will be a WhatsApp moment. When things change in a blink, it becomes a WhatsApp moment. Didn’t everyone start looking at WhatsApp and smiling in a blink? That’s how it is. Thus, what will happen when 100 crore each of smartphones, Aadhaar cards and Jan Dhan accounts come together? That’s it - revolution! Giving and lending money, transferring funds, subsidies, black money... everything will change.

It was good that Nandan lost parliament election in Bengaluru because he wrote a good book. He predicts major changes in Bengaluru in 2020, when it will overtake Silicon Valley and come first in the world in IT industries and new ventures. Twenty lakh people directly and 60 lakh people indirectly will have IT jobs in Bengaluru. Exports from there will reach Rs 4 lakh crore. But this amount will only be 40 per cent of India’s total IT exports, which means total exports will be Rs 10 lakh crore. Not bad!

In that situation, where will Kerala be? We also have Aadhaar, bank accounts and mobiles. It is said that IT exports have managed to reach Rs 18,000 crore. When they record big leaps there, will we be able to make even a small advance here? Come on! Come up with ideas.

Or, even then will we be talking about jobs, visas, flight tickets, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc? Goldman Sachs has predicted that oil price will drop to 20 dollars a barrel. Every alternate day it is falling by a dollar. Don’t make dire predictions!

Tailpiece

Sam Pitroda too has written a book — Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India. The book does not mention that initially there was opposition to the entry of mobile phones in India at the end of eighties. Let’s not forget that C-DOT exchange and STD booths were Pitroda’s creations.

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