Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani on Friday said he will quit the organisation by the end of next month to contest Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket.
The co-founder of Infosys, who joined the UIDAI on July 23, 2009 as its Chairman in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister for a five-year tenure, exuded confidence that the Authority is now in a position where anybody can take its work forward.
"I will be there for a few more weeks. I will be stepping down by end of March," Mr. Nilekani told journalists here. The erstwhile Infosys honcho, who is yet to join the Congress, is likely to get the party ticket from Bangalore South constituency.
Mr. Nilekani said he would contest from Bangalore South seat "subject to getting the ticket". Asked whether he was taking a big risk by contesting elections, Mr. Nilekani, in a lighter vein, said: "In any case I do not plan to lose", but added that in worst case he might lose but that "risk taking is part of life".
"I have been meeting people in that capital city (of Karnataka) and issues like public transport, water supply and education would be some of the major priority areas for him during the elections. There are issues like how to improve water supply...Education is a big challenge for children and jobs also," he said. "The reason I chose political path (was because) a lot of changes are required in the system," he added.
On Aadhaar's progress, Mr. Nilekani said so far 58.7 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued, and hoped that about 90 crore Aadhaar numbers would be issued by 2015. "When UIDAI was formed in 2009, we had set (a target to generate) 60 crore Aadhaars by 2014. We are now about 58.7 crore. So we are about 1.3 crore short of the target which will happen in another few weeks," he said.
"Recently, the government also gave us mandate to go to four more states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand -- which has a total population of 33 crore. So we will build a system now which can do 30 crore a year. So I think with the momentum continuing, we are looking at enrolments of up to 90 crore by sometime in 2015," he added.