Book Discussion | The Making of Aadhaar: World’s Largest Identity Platform

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IDFC Institute hosted a book discussion based on Ram Sewak Sharma’s latest book –The Making of Aadhaar: World’s Largest Identity Platform. The discussion with panelists Petra Sonderegger, Senior Project Manager and Senior Fellow at Dalberg; Naman Pugalia, Founder and CEO of Peppo; and Sucharita Mukheerjee, Co-founder and CEO, Kaleidofin – who have engaged with the world’s largest and most audacious ID project through varied lenses. The talk gave a comprehensive overview of the making of Aadhaar and shared interesting anecdotes of how the project got off the ground. The discussion highlighted that while Aadhaar uncovered the art of consensus and coalition building, there is still a need to develop exception handling mechanisms, and bring together diverse teams that could effectively anchor large scale technology projects.


Varad Pande (Moderator)

Varad Pande is a Partner at Omidyar Network India, where he leads strategy, impact and new initiatives. Prior to ONI, Varad has held many positions in the private sector, government and multilateral institutions. Varad was Officer on Special Duty to India’s Minister for Rural Development between 2009-14 where he had his tryst with Aadhaar. He was involved in making the Ministry of Rural Development the first ‘implementing partner’ of Aadhaar, by facilitating the linkage of large government schemes like MGNREGA and the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) to the Aadhaar system.

RS Sharma

RS Sharma served as the founding Director General of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which conceived and implemented Aadhaar. He is a retired Indian Administrative Service officer and until recently was the Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. In a distinguished career in the civil service spanning 41 years, Mr Sharma has led several technology-for-governance projects at the central and state levels, perhaps even before the word e-governance became a commonly used term. He holds Masters degrees from IIT Kanpur and University of California, Riverside.

Petra Sonderegger

Dr. Petra Sonderegger is Senior Project Manager and Senior Fellow at Dalberg, and co-author of the State of Aadhaar 2019 Report. Having led the largest survey on Aadhaar ever conducted—10 years after its launch—Petra will share with us the people’s perspective; has Aadhaar lived up to its promise of inclusion?

Naman Pugalia

Naman Pugalia is Founder and CEO of Peppo, a fair ordering utility for e-commerce. Apart from various other roles, Naman was one of the founding team members of Aadhaar. He will share his perspectives as an outsider who got to work as an insider in this truly unique government project.

Sucharita Mukherjee

Sucharita Mukheerjee is Co-founder and CEO, Kaleidofin, a wealth tech platform focused on “Bharat”. Before founding Kaleidofin, she was the group CEO of IFMR Holdings. As a practitioner whose organisation uses the Aadhaar ecosystem in driving financial inclusion among the excluded and marginalised, Sucharita will talk about the innovation that Aadhaar has enabled, especially in serving traditionally underserved segments of the population.


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