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India presses for legal framework to guide adoption of digital public infrastructure

India presses for legal framework to guide adoption of digital public infrastructure
 

India’s government emissary (Sherpa) to the G20 Amitabh Kant has underscored the need for a clearer definition of digital public infrastructure (DPI) and a legal framework to guide its deployment.

According to Kant, there is a vacuum where the governance framework for adoption of DPI should be, and a legal framework is needed as India is using its presidency of the G20 to lobby for more DPI access, reports the Economic Times of India (ET).

Speaking on the sideline of the third G20 Sherpas meeting which examined a declaration on the adoption of DPI, Kant said it was important to have a global definition of DPI which includes the internet, global positioning system, digital identity, digital payments like the UPI and the digital government platform DigiLocker, among other things.

Kant said the world was at the hour of need for DPI given the number of people who do not have legal identity, those who have no bank account, as well as the number of countries which still lack an expedient system for digital payments.

How funding can be sourced for DPI was also part of the discussions of members of the G20 working group.

“Everybody has said India’s presidency should be ambitious…so we are looking at all developmental issues of growth and progress. We will push what will help the Global South,” said Kant as quoted by ET.

India has been using its G20 presidency to drum the need for global support for and adoption of digital public infrastructure.

The UN estimates that around one billion people around the world have no legal identity, but the global body’s Legal Identity Agenda Task Force says it working to ensure that at least 300 million people have an ID by 2025. The Task Force is supporting ID projects in more than 25 African countries.

A blog post early this year by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) describes legal identity as a fundamental human right which is consistent with Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The authors of the article who are part of the UNDP Global Policy Network describe ID systems as the pillar of digital transformation, and look at the efforts being made in a number of countries including Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Mozambique, to strengthen their legal ID and civil registration systems.

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