Fortune 500 companies and leading players in the technology segment Google, Yahoo, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco, are keen to be involved in India's multi-billion dollar Unique Identification (UID) project.
Former Infosys co-chairman Nandan Nilekani, who heads the approximately Rs15,000-Rs20,000 crore UID project, will be the most sought after individual in India by all these US-based technology companies, which reported individual 2008 revenues above $30 billion except Yahoo with $7 billion.
Already top heads of most of these companies are prowling the corridors of power to convince the powers that their companies have the requisite technology and expertise to allot a unique identification number, akin to the US Social Security number, to each of India's 1.3 billion citizens.
Microsoft's chairman, Bill Gates has already said that his company is keen to participate in the project as Microsoft is in a position to assign the IDs swiftly and had met Nilekani, when he come down to India for the 5th anniversary celebration of Microsoft Research, India and to receive the Indira Gandhi peace prize in July.
Currently, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is in India and has already met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Nilekani to lobby for the UID project. Yahoo says that since three out of four Indians nternet users access the net through Yahoo, her company is the ideal choice since becaue of its large presence in India.
However, Yahoo says that it has no commercial interest in the project, which ought to leave Yahoo's co-founder and ex CEO Jerry Yang wondering where he went wrong that Yahoo shareholders wanted him out.