MindTree may bag first UID IT project

News Posted - 2010-04-25

Bangalore-based information technology (IT) services provider MindTree is understood to have emerged as the winner for the application development services (ADM) segment of the Nandan Nilekani-headed Unique Identification (UID) project. This is the first of the many IT projects that have come up for bidding till date.

MindTree beat the other two shortlisted firms, IBM and Accenture, to the race. Indian IT majors like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies, Wipro and HCL Technologies were ousted from the bidding process by the UID Authority of India (UIDAI) on technical grounds.

“The process is yet to get the final approval; but of the three shortlisted, MindTree is the Indian IT firm which is closest to winning the bid,” said a source close to the development. UIDAI is expected to announce the winner on April 26.

The three shortlisted firms — IBM, Accenture and MindTree — were evaluated on their commercial and financial bids. In January, UIDAI had called for bids and floated the request for proposal for design, development, testing, integration, support and maintenance of UID application software.

Close to 19 firms had bid for it. It included firms like TCS, Infosys, HCL Tech, Cognizant, Siemens, Logica and others. Later in March,, UIDAI shortlisted 10 companies.

Analysts and industry experts however felt that in terms of size, the application development services project might not that significant. “There are other IT projects that are much larger and complex in nature than this one, but those are yet to come up for bidding. These are setting up a disaster recovery site, managed services and biometric implementation,” said an executive from an IT firm that had made a bid for the project.

The first set of UIDs will be issued between August 2010 and February 2011. Nilekani, plans to issue 600 million UIDs over the next five years. UIDAI was allocated a sum of Rs 120 crore in last year’s budget and Rs 1,900 crore this year.

The high interest of IT firms in the project is due to the immense opportunity it has. Biometrics (which includes fingerprint, face and iris recognition) and computing power hold the keys to the UID project, which is estimated to offer an opportunity of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore to computing, database, smartcard, storage vendors and system integrators. For every rupee of IT spend on the project, industry experts estimate around 60 per cent will go to hardware vendors.

Source: Business Standard 25/4/10