Digital Public Infrastructure

An Explosion of DPI

India’s digital public infrastructure has transformed daily life, with UPI processing billions of transactions monthly. However, global innovations, like mPESA in Kenya and DCash in the Eastern Caribbean, highlight the worldwide growth of DPI. At a recent knowledge-sharing event, global participants recognized India’s leadership in DPI and sought guidance on its design and governance. India’s experience positions it to guide other nations in developing robust digital ecosystems.

Existential Angst

New technologies, like AI, provoke existential fears in various professions - from writers to musicians and artists. While AI threatens to replace human skills, including intellectual ones, these technologies will also create new opportunities and skill sets. It is premature to worry about human obsolescence.

Your Face is Your Boarding Pass

Digi Yatra, India’s new biometric air travel system, adequately addresses privacy concerns. It is designed to keep personal data on the user’s device and purge data from airport systems 24 hours post-flight. Despite my initial skepticism, the system is efficient and privacy-conscious.

Alt Big Tech

There are concerns over India’s digital public infrastructure and the role of self-regulatory organizations like the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). In particular that these entities, lacking oversight, could become “Alt Big Tech,” potentially harming users and stifling innovation. While these organizations are privately operated, function under regulatory supervision and could represent a new model for governing modern techno-legal ecosystems.

Looking Back

A reflection on the tech policy developments in India during 2022. While my initial predictions about data protection laws and tech sector reforms didn’t unfold as expected, there have been positive strides in India’s digital public infrastructure, like the UPI payment system and Account Aggregator ecosystem. India’s upcoming G20 presidency could further spotlight its techno-legal approach to regulation.