February 21, 2024

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India’s Global Vision for Connectivity and Inclusion

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) and a Social Impact Fund (SIF). The GDPIR will be used for sharing information and best practices and the SIF is designed to advance Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).

He unveiled the schemes during the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit last week. Chaired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) has played a key role in progressing the global DPI agenda. Through determined negotiation efforts, the DEWG achieved the historic milestone of the first-ever multilateral consensus on DPI.

Image credits: GoI_MeitY

The Digital Economy Ministers’ Meeting (DEMM) unanimously endorsed three DPI deliverables, including a framework for building DPI, the mobilisation of finances for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and the establishment of a GDPIR. The consensus was also reaffirmed in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD).

Global Digital Infrastructure Repository

MeitY developed the Global Digital Infrastructure Repository, a comprehensive resource hub that consolidates crucial insights and expertise from G20 members and guest nations. Its primary aim is to bridge the knowledge gap in making choices and employing methodologies required for the design, construction, deployment, and governance of DPIs.

Its primary purpose is to address the knowledge gap in making informed choices and employing effective methodologies for the design, construction, deployment, and governance of Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs). The GDPIR presents information in a standardised format, showcasing the experiences of countries and organisations that have successfully developed DPIs at scale. This includes elements such as maturity scales, source codes (where available), and governance frameworks. Currently, the GDPIR features 54 DPIs from 16 countries.

Social Impact Fund

The Social Impact Fund is envisioned as a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at accelerating the implementation of DPI in the global south. India has pledged an initial commitment of US$ 25 million to the project. The fund will provide financial support to offer both upstream technical and non-technical assistance to countries in developing DPI systems.

The SIF provides a platform for various stakeholders, including other governments, international organisations, and philanthropic entities, to contribute and collectively fast-track the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in LMICs through DPIs.

In India, DPI comprises the India Stack, a set of domestically created digital solutions implemented nationwide. It includes APIs and digital public assets that enable the widespread use of digital identity, data, and payments as fundamental economic elements. Key components include Unified Payments Interface (India’s instant payments system), Aadhaar (the government’s digital identity card), and DigiLocker (a secure document access platform on a public cloud).

India Stack enhances access to and the delivery of public services, with the overarching goals of achieving widespread connectivity, promoting digital inclusion, and ensuring seamless access to public services. Built on open technologies, these solutions are interoperable and crafted to encourage active participation from industry and community stakeholders, thereby fostering innovation.

In September, India signed three separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Sierra Leone, Antigua & Barbuda, and Armenia to share experiences and digital solutions, including India Stack.

The agreements aligned with several government initiatives, including Digital India, Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India), and Make in India, among others. These initiatives collectively aim to propel the nation toward a digitally empowered society and a knowledge-based economy. As the landscape continues to evolve, there is a pressing need to delve into business opportunities, share best practices, and attract investments within the digital sector.


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