Data has become the new oil. Just like oil was the basis for transformation of the 20th century, data is the basis for 21st century, said Nilekani.
Chennai: Describing data as the “new oil”, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Friday said India has a chance to build a completely new paradigm as he made a strong pitch for democratising data so that it is available to everybody and not just a select few organisations.
“Data has become the new oil. Just like oil was the basis for transformation of the 20th century, data is the basis for 21st century. But it is very important that if data is the new oil, then data is democratised (and) that data is available to everybody to use,” Mr Nilekani said in his address at the 54th convocation of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
What kind of policies the country has on data is very important and it has to be made sure that all this “massive data that is going to get created is not just in a few pockets of organisations but everybody has access to that”, he noted.
“In India, we have a chance to do that, thanks to the technology we have and what that means is that a consumer can get his own data to get a better loan, better health care, education. A business can use data to get better credit or better business.
“So therefore, if data is the new oil, and if we can restructure data to benefit every individual and every business, then we can lead to enormous amount of activity and economic growth. So we have a chance to build a completely new paradigm on data which no other country can do,” he said.
The former UIDAI chairman said India, due to its “digital explosion”, was on the verge of enormous change which would create massive opportunities. Over the last eight years, India has built a very sophisticated stack of software tools which a billion people can access, he said.
“It is based on everybody having a unique ID, the Aadhaar number. You can use that for doing authentication wherever you are (using) your phone, you can use that for doing a KYC which allows you to open a bank account or get a SIM card,” he said.