India’s DPIs, catching the next wave
- India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) is becoming better with time. Aadhar has become the backbone of the government’s welfare initiatives.
Points to ponder:
- India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) is a partnership between governments, regulators, the private sector, startups, volunteers, and academia/think tanks, and is a marvel of our times.
- The DPI, which includes Aadhaar, is delivering consistent, affordable, and across-the-board value to citizens, the government, and the corporate sector.
- The rebirth of Aadhaar in 2014 under Prime Minister Modi has enabled it to become the rocket ship to launch good governance on.
- The opening of Aadhaar to the private sector is happening gradually, beginning with voluntary usage, and between government departments with the prior informed consent of the citizen.
- The next leapfrogging of the India Stack is expected with the incentivization of Aadhaar usage and an increasing number of authentications (2.2 billion per month).
- DigiYatra, a Biometric Enabled Seamless Travel (BEST) experience based on a facial recognition system, and DigiLocker, which has 150 million users and 6 billion stored documents, are two of the least known but highly useful DPIs.
- DigiLocker has the potential to expand to many countries around the world with its microscopic budget of ₹50 crore over seven years.
- An Enterprise DigiLocker can potentially be created to save huge costs and headaches for businesses.
- UPI, which is breaking records under the visionary leadership at the National Payments Corporation of India, has now crossed eight billion transactions per month and transacts a value of $180 billion a month.
Aadhar and private sector:
- The Supreme Court’s decision on privacy as a fundamental right slowed the opening of Adhaar to the commercial sector to maximize its worth.
- Aadhar holders may use their Adhaar for private sector purposes voluntarily, and private sector organizations are not required to obtain special approval for such use. Aadhar data can also be shared between government agencies (both internal and interstate), but only with the citizens’ previous informed permission.
- Banks and other similar entities can store Aadhar details as per UIDAI regulations.
- Adhaar authentications have increased to 2.2 billion per month, with a total of 100 billion over the last 12 years. Goods and Services Tax (GSTN) and then account aggregator could not have occurred in the absence of an Aadhar number and Pan database.
Digilocker and DigiYatra
- America’s CLEAR program (expedited airport security/airport identification verification) has approximately 15 million members and costs $369 per year for a household of four. In comparison, Digiyatra is completely free for Indian travelers. DigiYatra is a biometric face recognition system that ensures seamless traveler identity at critical checkpoints such as airport entrance, security screening, and boarding gate approval.
- Digilocker has 150 million users and has stored over 6 billion documents in its seven years of operation. It is one of the least-known DPIs in India. It has a microscopic budget of only ₹50 crores. It allows citizens to store and access important documents like driving licenses, Aadhaar cards, PAN cards, and education certificates in digital format. It can be used by third-party services for their Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, almost instantly. It has been used by Karnataka Police for verifying the academic credentials of candidates in recruitment drives, leading to a process reduction of six months. It is being planned for expansion to many countries around the world.