As many as 50 nominees across five categories - political leaders, arts and social leaders, movie related, entrepreneurs and idea leaders and sports and administrators, have been shortlisted for the initiative.
Based on British show "The Greatest Briton", which has been adapted in 21 countries so far, the series, which went on air Monday, is set to trigger a debate on who is the greatest Indian after Mahatma Gandhi.
"I'm sure this series will trigger an enthusiastic debate in homes, offices and public places around the country," Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, IBN18 Network, said in a press statement.
According to Ajay Chacko of A+E Networks | TV18, the poll will help youth recognise the achievements of country's key individuals.
"This partnership with CNN IBN enables HISTORY TV18 to bring forth the inspiring figures over the years, after the Mahatma, who have had the maximum impact on the country's present and future.
"While the jury and nationwide polls will ultimately lead to the search for that one individual who's contribution to India has been overwhelmingly acknowledged as the most enduring, it also gives us Indians a chance to be aware of the contributions of many other great individuals from diverse fields," he said.
The jury for the entire process consists of a panel of 28 Indians from different walks of life. It includes names like Shashi Tharoor, Nandan Nilekani, Rajkumar Hirani, Soli Sorabjee, Shabana Azmi and Arun Jaitley among others.
Along with the nationwide poll, equal weightage will be given to the jury's selection as well as a separate market research poll conducted by The Nielsen Company.
At first, a shortlist of the top 10 'Greats' will be decided, followed by the selection of the 'Greatest Indian'. The shortlist of top 10 'Greats' is slated to be revealed July 1 and the second round of voting will begin soon after.
The initiative will culminate with the announcement of The Greatest Indian in a glittering ceremony to be telecast around Independence Day this year.
As part of the nationwide poll, viewers can cast their vote by visiting the website TheGreatestIndian.in or giving a missed call to a unique number assigned to their nominee of choice.
Here are the names of some leaders listed under each category:
Political leaders - Atal Bihari Vajpayee, B. R Ambedkar, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, APJ Abdul Kalam
Arts and social leaders: Baba Amte, Mother Teresa, Pt. Ravi Shankar, M. F. Husain, Bismillah Khan
Movie related: Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Kapoor, Rajinikanth, Satyajit Ray, Dev Anand, Mohammad Rafi
Entrepreneurs and idea leaders: Homi Bhabha, Dhirubhai Ambani, Ghanshyam Das Birla, J. R. D. Tata, Ramnath Goenka, Amartya Sen
Sports and administrators: Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dhyan Chand, Viswanathan Anand, Milkha Singh