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India launches $25M fund and global repository to spur DPI implementation

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India launches $25M fund and global repository to spur DPI implementation
 

India has launched a social impact fund with a $25 million commitment to support the development of digital public infrastructure in the Global South, along with a Global DPI Repository (GDPIR) to share resources.

The announcement credits the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) with leading the global push to support DPIs. That push also includes the UNDP’s 50-in-5 campaign, and the UNDP and India jointly released a pair of resources in August to speed DPI development in furtherance of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The initiatives focus on DPI development in low and middle-income countries, and were announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during a virtual summit of G20 leaders this week. They are intended to support the achievement of the SDGs, and align with the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), according to the announcement.

There are 54 examples of digital public infrastructure already available from the GDPIR, contributed by 15 countries and the European Union. Notably, several of those contributors, including those of Nigeria, Brazil and Mauritius, come from the Global South.

The contributions are divided between the categories of digital identity, payments, data exchange, health, education, agriculture and other.

Digital identity resources offered by the GDPIR include Aadhaar and the EU Digital Identity Wallet.

The social impact fund will support technical and non-technical efforts by countries developing DPI systems, as a government-led multistakeholder initiative to fast-track the implementation of those projects.

DPI as legacy of India’s G20 Presidency

India explicitly set out to use its Presidency of the G20 to champion DPI development in the Global South, adopting the slogan of “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

The DEWG hosted a global DPI summit earlier this year, where India completed an MoU to share its digital stack with four other countries. More MoUs have been signed since.

The country is clearly gaining in soft power by sharing its DPI expertise, with non-profit, open-source digital identity platform MOSIP recently identified as India’s top software export, and expected to reach many more users over the next 18 months. There are potential domestic economic benefits as well, as shown by the successful IPO of e-governance and DPI developer Protean earlier this month.

In addition to Aadhaar, India’s contributions to the GDPIR also include its Unified Payments Interface (UPI), cloud document issuance, storage and verification platform DigiLocker and the Co-WIN vaccination platform.

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