IGF 2023 WS #459 Equitable & Safe Digital Development: India’s DPI Experiment


Digital Divides & Inclusion
Affordable Access

Organizer 1: Kazim Rizvi, 🔒
Organizer 2: Kamesh Shekar, The Dialogue
Organizer 3: Shravishtha Ajaykumar, ORF Observer Research Foundation
Organizer 4: Shreya Shruti, The Dialogue

Speaker 1: Mahesh BG, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Jonathan Marskell, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 3: Jana Silaškova, Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Mansi Kedia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Kamesh Shekar, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Kazim Rizvi, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Shravishtha Ajaykumar, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Shreya Shruti, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How does Digital Pubic Infrastructure cater to the needs and concerns of the last-mile population?
B. How open are India’s Digital Pubic Infrastructures for private innovations compared to other jurisdictions?
C. What are the concerns and risks that Digital Public Infrastructure poses? At what level last-mile population need transitory assistance to enrol, authenticate and receive benefits using Digital Public Infrastructure?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain three things from attending this session (a) while public and private players play a key role in innovating technologies for last-mile delivery, what is the role of the government to the public in establishing the infrastructures for such innovations to happen seamlessly? (b) Like the traditional public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, which are used by the public for economic mobility, accessibility and connectivity purposes, similarly, for the digital landscape, what kind of digital public infrastructures is needed? (c) How does India Stack, health stack under ABDM, Open Network for Digital Commerce etc. operate?

Moreover, the participants will get a 360-degree understanding of India's DPI experiments and how they can be translated into their countries. Besides, at the end of this session, participants must be able to differentiate between Digital Public Goods and DPI and what governments worldwide are doing to establish the latter.


Solving the problem of the digital divide does not stop at the level of taking the internet to the last mile, whereas digital innovations must cater to the needs of the last-mile population to enhance the meaningful utilisation of the internet. To realise the same, governments must establish the infrastructure for such innovations to happen seamlessly.

Therefore, to keep up with time, governments across the globe, including India, are testing various measures to suit the needs and wants of individuals in the digital realm. However, India’s journey toward pioneering and establishing a public infrastructure for a digital realm in the form of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) has evolved significantly towards having digitally inclusive growth, which is equitable, aids in last-mile delivery, and transforms the equation of nation-state. For instance, in the financial sector, India Stack has revolutionised India's financial services ecosystem and set a global milestone by enabling presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery innovations in the form of digital public infrastructures. Also, any of these stacks' key layers/components try to fulfil Sustainable Development Goals' key objectives like establishing digital Identity.

Therefore, against this backdrop, to share the learnings across, through this session, we will discuss how India’s DPI experiment can be translated into other countries, especially in the global south. The session will also discuss similar experiments conducted by other countries and how India's experience can aid in their endeavour, especially in terms of achieving inclusivity and interoperability at scale. Besides, the session will discuss some of the concerns and risks posed by the India DPI experiments to alert other countries who are venturing into adopting and experimenting with the same. Finally, our session will discuss a blueprint for establishing inclusive and interoperable digital technological innovations using DPI and how to share the benefits of the same globally.

Expected Outcomes

We will keep the momentum running by (a) initiating parallel live threads on the social media platforms for participants to engage during and after sessions, (b) creating an email group for interested participants to build a network for conversation and knowledge dissemination, (c) continuing efforts to collaborate, through follow-up discussions and other initiatives, led by any participant in the session, to keep the discussion on Digital Public Infrastructure, inclusive digital development etc. (d) We will also collate rich insights from the session and synthesis it into a working paper which would highlight the state of India’s Digital Public Infrastructure and how can we export it to other countries, especially global south. The paper will also have a way forward translated from notes exchanged on various learning from India and other jurisdictions to lay down a blueprint for establishing Digital Public Infrastructure as means to democratise innovation.

Hybrid Format: We will keep the session participant centric by (a) tailoring the session according to questions and discussion pointers provided by the participants during the registration (both online/offline), (b) seeking before and after responses from both online and offline participants on a poll question, i.e., do you think Digital Public Infrastructure bring inclusivity and solve the puzzle of digital dive? (c) we will give online and offline participants an equal opportunity to provide their inputs to the discussion and make interaction seamless by having online and offline moderators. (d) we will use the Mural platform for the online participants, where there they can incorporate their questions and interventions to some of the key questions related to the topic.