Digital India

The story of India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)

Mohit Sapru Posted On :
7 min 1332 words

Categories: India

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The world's most populous and biggest democracy, India, has being very active in developing it's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).

DPI refers to the technological and organizational framework set up by a government to provide essential digital services and resources to it's citizen's, businesses and stakeholders by levaraging modern technology. Some key components of Digital Public Infrastructure would be:

  1. Connectivity: The deployment of high-speed broadband networks and internet connectivity across a country or region so that the population has access to reliable and affordable internet services, which is crucial for digital inclusion.
  2. Data Infrastructure: Establishment of secure and robust data infrastructure that enables governments to collect, store, manage, and analyze vast amounts of data across different government departments and amongst external stakeholders. This includes data centers, cloud computing resources, and data-sharing platforms that facilitate the efficient use of data.
  3. Digital Identity Systems: Governments provided digital identity systems that provide citizens with secure and unique digital identities. These enable individuals to access a wide range of digital services securely, such as online voting, e-commerce, financial services and government services.
  4. Open Data Initiatives: Make certain data sets available to the public in machine-readable formats.These promote transparency, accountability, and innovation by allowing citizens, businesses, and researchers to access and utilize government data for various purposes.
  5. Digital Platforms and Services: Development and deployment of digital platforms and services that streamline government processes and enhance service delivery. Examples include online portals for citizen engagement, e-government services, digital payment systems, and online education platforms.
  6. Cybersecurity and Privacy Measures: Incorporate robust cybersecurity and privacy measures to ensure the protection of citizen's data and maintain trust in digital systems. This includes implementing encryption, secure authentication methods, and compliance with data protection regulations.


Below are a few examples of India's ongoing efforts to build a robust Digital Public Infrastructure leading to a Digital India:

  • Aadhaar: Aadhaar is India's unique identification system that provides a 12-digit digital identity number to residents. It serves as the foundation for various digital services and benefits, including direct benefit transfers, financial inclusion, and eKYC (Know Your Customer) processes. (

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI): UPI is a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It allows users to link multiple bank accounts and perform instant, secure, and convenient transactions through mobile devices. UPI has played a significant role in promoting digital payments and financial inclusion in India. (

  • Digital India: Launched in 2015, the Digital India initiative aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It encompasses various programs and projects to improve digital infrastructure, increase internet connectivity, and provide digital services to citizens. (

  • BharatNet: BharatNet is a high-speed broadband network project aimed at connecting all 250,000 village-level administrative units (gram panchayats) in India. It seeks to bridge the digital divide by providing last-mile connectivity to rural areas and enabling access to digital services, e-governance, and digital literacy. (

  • DigiLocker: DigiLocker is a cloud-based platform provided by the government of India that allows citizens to store and access their important documents digitally. It eliminates the need for physical documents and facilitates easy and secure sharing of verified documents with government agencies and other organizations. (

  • Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN): GSTN is the IT backbone of India's Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. It provides a robust technology platform for registration, filing of returns, and management of the entire GST ecosystem, ensuring transparency and simplifying the tax compliance process. (

  • National Digital Health Mission (NDHM): NDHM aims to establish a digital infrastructure for healthcare in India. It includes the creation of a unique health ID for every citizen, digital health records, telemedicine services, and other digital health initiatives. (

  • GeM (Government e-Marketplace): GeM is an online platform that enables government departments and organizations to procure goods and services digitally. It promotes transparency, efficiency, and cost savings in government procurement processes.(

  • FASTag: FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) wherein Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is used for making highway toll payments directly. (

  • MyGov: MyGov is a citizen engagement platform,launched by the Government of India on 26 July 2014, for the active participation of Indian citizens in the country's governance and development. (

  • eSign: eSign is online electronic signature service to enable citizens to digitally sign a document. (

  • CSC (Common Services Centers): CSC are access points for digital services established in rural and remote areas. They provide various government and private services such as Aadhaar enrollment, banking, insurance, e-commerce, and utility bill payments. (

  • UMANG: UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is a mobile app that provides access to a wide range of government services and schemes. It offers a single platform for citizens to access services from multiple government departments and agencies. (

  • SWAYAM: SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, initiated by the indian government, for providing educational opportunities for a vast number of it's citizens. This was designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of the Education Policy i.e. access, equity and quality. (

  • National Scholarship Portal: National Scholarship Portal (NSP) is the "one stop" online portal for Indian students applying for scholarships by consolodating hundreds of scholarships run by both states and the central government. This is a part of the government's Digital India initiative and the National e-Governance Plan to ease the process of applying, processing, verifying and sanction of Government scholarships to Indian students. (

  • OpenForge: This is a platform for open collaborative development of e-governance applications. Through this the Indian government wants to promote the use of open source software and sharing and reuse of e-governance related source code. (

Listen to this interesting conversation Prof.Ngaire Woods has with Nandan Nilekani about the journey of India’s digital transformation using DPI.

Here Nandan Nilekani attempts to join the dots and present the big picture of India's digital transformation.

Nandan Nilekani explains how three big ideas in technology have helped financial inclusion in India

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