India’s exports solutions for digital public infrastructure

India is planning to export its digital public infrastructure (DPI) to other developing countries, aiming to extend its influence and gain international support. The G20 summit endorsed India’s DPI framework and its plan for a global repository for DPI products. India’s successful implementation of biometric identity systems, digital payments, and data management has benefited its citizens and streamlined bureaucratic processes. However, challenges and scrutiny are expected as the country’s technology exports grow. India hopes to see its technology celebrated in 2024 but should also be prepared to have its robustness tested.

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India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) has gained recognition domestically and internationally, with the 2023 G20 summit in New Delhi endorsing India’s initiative for the DPI framework. The DPI aims to provide a set of shared digital systems that enable the delivery of services at a societal scale. India has successfully developed key components of its DPI, including Aadhaar, a biometric identity system covering almost its entire population, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for digital payments, and DigiLocker, an online platform for official document storage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to export India’s technological innovations to other developing countries, viewing it as a means to extend India’s influence while gaining support from diplomats and showcasing the capabilities of Indian tech companies. Bilateral agreements have been the method used thus far, but India now needs to institutionalize its efforts to gain broader international support.

The primary target regions for India’s technology exports are Africa and Asia. In 2024, more countries are expected to adopt India’s identity system and payment technology, making remittances more accessible, particularly in countries with a significant Indian migrant population. This technology transfer will contribute to the development of digital infrastructure in these countries and aid in their socio-economic progress.

However, as India’s technology gains visibility and adoption, it will face greater scrutiny. Some of India’s digital systems, like the vaccination database and identity system, have experienced vulnerabilities and data leaks. Additionally, sustainable charging models for UPI, which do not discourage merchants and buyers, still need to be worked out. It is important to note that not all countries possess the technical capacity to independently implement and maintain complex digital projects without external support.

Source: The Economist