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UPI to Aadhaar, Modi govt showcases ‘India Stack’ of digital goodies for global adoption

Govt says digital public services will be offered to other countries & startups during first annual stack developers’ conference to be held in Delhi Wednesday.

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New Delhi: On Wednesday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will be spearheading India’s first digital stack developers’ conference in New Delhi. The event will see ‘Made in India’ digital public services including UPI and Aadhaar put on offer for wider adoption around the world.

Interacting with the media Tuesday, Union minister of state (MoS) for MeitY Rajeev Chandrasekhar said India’s “technology package” will be an offering for countries looking to build digital public infrastructure. “Starting from Aadhaar, UPI and the various other applications that have been created as digital public infrastructure, this technology package called the India Stack is now being offered to countries all over the world,” he said.

He went further to announce that the stack developers’ conference in Delhi will be attended by startups, system integrators, large and small companies — both Indian and foreign-based — and embassies of various governments from around the world. The attendees will “understand the India Stack and hopefully see the India Stack deployed in many countries which also want to follow India’s lead in digitalising its government and citizens”.

The stack developers’ conference, he added, will be an annual event where India’s “open-sourced” digital services will be offered to countries and startups to help them “further develop” their digital infrastructure. 

Chandrasekhar also said that the event is where architects of Indian platforms will meet startups and system integrators, besides foreign and state government officials to “ensure that there is a wider adoption and dissemination for citizens all over the world and in India”. 

“The government does not intend to make any money out of it. We want the startups to systematically benefit,” he clarified.

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What is ‘India Stack’

The India Stack is a set of open APIs (application programming interfaces) made available for software developers to build digital public services. 

The idea here is to package India’s digital public services like CoWin, UPI and Aadhaar as a foundation for startups, big corporations and countries to innovate further to digitalise government infrastructure and economies.

Chandrasekhar told reporters Tuesday, “The India Stack has evolved from just one layer, which is the Aadhaar identity, granting digital authentication and it has been topped by the successful UPI platform layer. This was followed by multiple layers spanning health, education, skilling etc. and all of them are beginning to become a richer and much more sophisticated stack that has been deployed since it is open-source software.”

He added that these digital public services can be “deployed very inexpensively to countries that also, post-Covid-19, want to digitalise their economy and government”.

It remains to be seen how the India Stack will perform internally at a time when concerns persist about India’s internet growth slowing down in 2021. According to a report by the global market research firm Counterpoint, India witnessed single-digit growth in mobile internet subscribers in 2021, as opposed to double-digit uptick from 2016 to 2020.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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