What is the Digital Public Infrastructure?

‘Digital public infrastructure (DPI) could help India become an $8-trillion economy by 2030, according to a report by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) and Boston-based management consulting firm Arthur D Little International’, as Mint Live reports in their article.

The article further states that the successful adoption of mature DPIs (those that have proof of concept) and budding DPIs can help India achieve its goal of becoming a $ 1 trillion digital economies. The added value of DPI can increase from 0.9% in 2022 to between 2.9% to 4.2% by 2030.

What is the Digital Public Infrastructure?

It refers to the digital network that helps the citizens of a country with social services. In India, think of your Aadhaar, the United Payment Interface (UPI), and Fastag. Any country-specific DPI aims to enhance the efficiency of services. While also working to automate tasks and simplify the process. Enabling citizens to use online platforms to avail government services without visiting government offices.

These government services are known as Digital Public Goods, they are digital pathways that are built on the Digital Public Infrastructure. Which essentially consists of interoperable platforms that are accessible to everyone, to use and develop.

India’s DPI: India Stack

India is leading the DPI with its Aadhaar and UPI initiatives. Revolutionizing the digital landscape in the country to enable social and financial inclusion across sectors. The DPI for India is known as ‘India Stack’. It consists of interconnected yet independent blocks that serve as identity, payment, data sharing, and consent mechanisms. The modular layers of the India Stack platform offer opportunities to innovate, make inclusive platforms, and allow for healthy competition in the digital realm.

India Stack is known for its interoperability, open-source principles, and consent-driven frameworks. Under Aadhar, UPI, and DEPA (Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture), they offer users:

a.seamless digital identity: Giving every resident a unique digital identity
b.secure payments: Allowing citizens to pay anyone – Interoperable- fast and cheap
c.controlled data access: Enabling secure sharing with consent. Empowering users to decide how to use their data.
All while enhancing the user experiences and building a collaborative environment to encourage public-private partnerships.

What is the impact of Indian DPI?

Let’s understand this from the following three perspectives:

a. From an individual/ citizen viewpoint

Indian DPI offers improved access to government services to the citizens. Offering them better living standards and productivity. DPI offers citizens seamless access to government welfare programmes and services.

b. From a business viewpoint

For business owners and setups, the Indian DPI framework has simplified operations, offers ease of doing operations, and access to valuable customer data insights.

c. From a government entity viewpoint

When we consider the government entities, there is an increase in tax filings and revenues, reduced operational costs, and an overall improvement in service delivery operations.

India’s DPI programmes and progress over the decade

Matured DPIs

These DPI programmes have proof of concept and have built a strong base for budding DPIs. Here are some of the matured DPIs:

At present, Aadhaar covers nearly 97% of the population in India and has grown over 300 times since its inception. It helps to enable many services in the public domain like eKYC, eSign, APB, etc.

b. UPI

UPI is the most common practice in India today. It enables instant transactions across financial platforms by linking bank accounts to UPI-enabled applications. Bringing in social and financial inclusion. UPI payments have become a great digital substitute for cash transactions for citizens’
everyday expenses.

c. AePS (Aadhaar-enabled Payment System)

This one allows bank customers to securely access their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts with the use of biometrics verification. Bank customers can access banking services like balance inquiry, cash withdrawal, etc.

d. FASTag
Designed by the NPCI using UPI protocols, this is an RFID device offered to travellers for quick toll and tax payments on highways. It is mandated by national highways in India and has a noted adoption that stands at close to 97%.


This public platform in India facilitates tax preparation and filing for GST. Offering IT support to governments, taxpayers, and stakeholders.

Budding DPIs


This is an open protocol that aims to promote fair access to digital retail markets. It is known to have onboarded 150k+ merchants, facilitating 40k+ daily transaction orders. The platform is mindful of playing a level field by not charging high margins, allowing users to make the right seller choice.

b. ABDM (Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission)

ABDM is aimed at building an integrated healthcare infrastructure in the digital realm. It builds a digital identification system with electronic signatures. Fostering a paperless payment system with secure record keeping electronically.

c. e-Sanjeevani

This platform is focused on offering tele-consultation services for Indian citizens to ensure healthcare access in even remote areas in India. This is a complaint with ABDM under the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. The aim is to work on digital health equity and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

d. CoWin

Another revolutionary budding DPI is the CoWin app that aims to offer digital access for vaccine distribution. Along with Aarogya Setu, this app facilitated a rapid vaccination drive possibility in India during the 2021 COVID-19 vaccination drive.

e. DigiLocker

Another key public service is access to authentic digital documents via a digital wallet.

Other budding DPI services include:

i.DIKSHA, a national platform for teacher education,
ii.NDEAR, another platform for digital education aligned with NEP
iii.NDL – The National Digital Library offers a variety of learning resources like books, articles, videos, simulations, etc.
iv.NHM – The National Horticulture Mission for agriculture services, etc.

Beyond the DPIs working at a central public level, many state-level DPIs are also driving digital infrastructure growth. Such as the Kochi Open Mobility Network (KOMN), launched in 2021 by Kochi’s Metropolitan Transport Authority. Another initiative is by the Karnataka Government called Namma Yatri for empowering Auto-drivers in Bangalore.

As the country grows its DPI, some essential growth comes in the form of:
a.Financial inclusion, allowing many rural and remote areas to gain access to banking services via UPI and other DPIs.
b.Environmental impact, entities like Fastag, Digi lockers, Aadhar, etc. have a positive environmental impact by paperless processes.

In a global impact story, the UPI model is one many global countries aim to replicate. Many countries have formed a bilateral partnership with India. A fine example of this is the recent integration of PayNow from Singapore with UPI for instant fund transfers. The private sector is also building new business models using the DPIs to drive their adoption and lead India’s digital economy into accelerated growth.

Stay tuned for more information on all things digital business and growth in India with the Hetic India blog.

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