India’s transformative digital public infrastructure is a “story worth showcasing” and the interest it has generated among developing and developed nations presents a huge opportunity for the Indian tech industry, according to Cisco India and SAARC President Daisy Chittilapilly.
Chittilapilly noted that India’s digital public infrastructure offered a unique population-scale, low cost, accessible model, and is generating “tremendous amount of interest” from other nations.
She cited the success of digital identity Aadhaar and India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the real-time payment system where transaction volumes are “mind blowing”.
“One of the topics at the G20 Presidency is showcasing digital public infrastructure that India has built over the last many years… Aadhaar is the largest national identity project in the world… look at the UPI numbers, they are mind blowing. There is nothing like UPI anywhere in the world,” she told PTI in a recent interview.
The Cisco India top honcho also pointed to CoWIN (the digital backbone of COVID-19 vaccination programme) and India’s digital health ID mission to highlight how the country had successfully engineered and scaled digital solutions.
“When India does something at that population scale, low-cost, accessible model across rural and urban, rich and poor, it is a story worth telling, worth showcasing,” Chittilapilly added.
The digital public infrastructure created by India is being keenly watched by other countries, and has sparked off interest from not just developing but even developed nations.
“It is wonderful that at the year of G20 Presidency, the government intends to showcase DPI…I understand that there is a tremendous amount of interest in that conversation and not just from developing countries that are dealing with same scale of issues or problems like India is, but also from nations which are considered developed and which are lagging behind in space of digital payments etc…it is a victory for us,” she said.
This also opens up “huge opportunity” for the Indian industry.
“In that lies a huge opportunity for broader Indian industry because all of these countries will need tech
skills if they attempt a project to replicate any of these projects… they will need tech skills, digital skills and all of that presents a tremendous opportunity for the Indian technology industry,” Chittilapilly explained.
Put simply, Digital public infrastructure (DPI) refers to blocks or platforms such as digital identification, payment infrastructure and data exchange solutions that help countries deliver essential services to their people, empowering citizens and improving lives by enabling digital inclusion.
“… The government’s focus on DPI and showcasing DPI augurs well for Indian industry,” Chittilapilly said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Economic Survey 2022-23 had asserted that emergence of Digital Public Infrastructure, aimed at improving financial literacy, innovation, entrepreneurship, employment generation, and empowering beneficiaries has played a critical role in uplifting the economy and bringing it to the stature where it stands today.
The synergy between physical and digital infrastructure will be one of the defining features of India’s future growth story, the Economic Survey had emphasised.
India has developed a unique and cogent digital story to tell, the survey had said as it highlighted Aadhaar and UPI, as well as other initiatives like Co-WIN, e-RUPI, TReDS and ONDC that are at different stages of implementation.
“The journey is ongoing, and there is much-untapped potential in India’s digital public infrastructure space,” it had said.
In fact, India’s sprawling digital public infrastructure received a glowing endorsement from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently as he praised the country’s “great” digital network, reliable and low-cost connectivity.