The Indian government has launched a $25 million “Social Impact Fund” aimed at promoting Digital Public Infrastructure, of which digital ID is a key component. The fund was announced at last week’s Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, an event hosted by the Indian government to cap off its term in the G20 Presidency, which concludes at the end of this month.
Addressing attendees, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that India’s plan to establish a ‘DPI repository’ has now been realized, with more than 50 DPI tools from 16 countries now included in the open source-style solutions marketplace. The DPI repository idea had been floated at the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September, and received endorsements from groups including the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
India’s flagship contribution to the DPI repository is its Aadhaar digital identity framework, which links digital IDs to biometric data, and allows Indian citizens to be authenticated in various interactions with government agencies and other entities through fingerprint, face, and iris scans. Also important is the Unified Payments Interface, a real-time payments system for inter-bank transactions.
India is hoping that other countries will embrace these models as they construct their own digital infrastructure systems, viewing it as an important diplomatic effort. And that effort will be further supported by the Social Impact Fund, which the Indian government has framed as an effort to fuel digital transformation in low- and middle-income countries, in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
“I hope that all of you will join this initiative,” Modi told attendees of the virtual summit.
Beyond India’s contributions to the DPI repository – which include several projects beyond Aadhaar and UPI – there has also been a significant contribution of nine project from Oman, which has done pioneering work in digital ID in partnership with TECH5 and Dubai-based Uqudo. France has contributed five DPI projects, and Russia has offered its Unified Portal of Public and Municipal Services as well as its Unified Digital Platform.
November 27, 2023 – by Alex Perala