Neelkanth Mishra has been named as the part-time head of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the nodal agency in charge of providing Aadhaar numbers. Mishra is Axis Bank Ltd.'s Chief Economist and Head of Global Research. Mishra spent two decades with Credit Suisse in Zurich before joining Axis Bank, where he held positions such as co-head of APAC Strategy, director of India equity strategy, and head of research in India. He is a specialist in Asian tech strategy research, Taiwan IC design, semiconductor foundries, Indian medicines, metals and mining, and pharmaceuticals from India.
The UIDAI board consists of a chairperson, two part-time members, and the CEO, who also serves as the member secretary. Aadhar, the brainchild of Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, revolutionized the issuance of unique identification for Indians and quickly became the backbone of several government and private sector initiatives, including targeted schemes for needy citizens. However, issues relating to safety and data security have marred the system. Mishra’s expertise, which spans across technology and economic policy, would help the agency fortify its processes.
Known for his unique perspectives on economic policy and market strategy, Mishra has been an advisor to many government committees and also been a member of the economic advisory council to the 15th finance commission. His views on government policies are well known through his regular articles in newspapers and online publications. Mishra was one of the first analysts to point out the uneven K-shaped economic recovery post-Covid. In one of his early articles, Mishra noted that the consumption slump is driven by the top percentile of the people with the highest disposable income. He also said that once the economy re-opens, the consumption surge would be significant. At that time, as an India strategist at Credit Suisse (where he spent two decades), Mishra estimated the economic loss due to the pandemic-triggered lockdown to be Rs 20 lakh crore.