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UNGA Side Event


(September 29, 2021, Live intervention)


Remarks by Mr. Ajay Prakash Sawhney

Secretary Ministry of Electronics and Information



I thank the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Technology, Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) and UNDP for inviting India to share our success story on leveraging the power of technology in nation building.


Technological innovations are now impacting every facet of human life be it health, livelihood, education, transport or entertainment. Apart from enhancing inclusion, transparency and efficiency in services provided by the government,technology can be used to shape a digital public goods eco-system that enables private companies and Start-upsto innovate and provide a wide spectrum of services to citizens and businesses.


Being a global leader in IT & Software, India in recent years, through transformative policies under Digital India Programme, has been successful in leveraging technology to deliver people-centric solutions. India now has over a billion bank accounts including more than 300 million Jandhan bank accounts for citizens left out earlier, 1.25 billion persons with AADHAAR, a unique national digital identity and more than 1.2 billion mobile subscribers. The combination of Jandhan, AADHAAR and Mobile, popularly known as J-A-M Trinity, has transformed access to government services and taken social benefits to more than a billion persons in India, including those who are residing in the remotest of locations. Through these public digital platforms, India has conclusively demonstrated the effectiveness of Digital Public Goods (DPGs) as a shared national resource. I will now share three case studies of public digital platforms implemented in India to illustrate the immense potential of digital public goods.


First, recognizing the importance of connecting individuals using technology, India has implemented AADHAAR, a low cost, simple and innovative unique digital identity system to authenticate anytime, anywhere. It is the world’s largest biometric digital database covering over 1.25 billion residents including 99% of the adults. It enables targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services in an efficient and transparent manner. Social benefits from federal and state agencies of around 200 Bn USD have been directly credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries resulting in an estimated saving of more than 23 Bn USD.


Second, India has implemented Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a unique payment system that helps users make digital payments and low-cost fund transfer between two bank accounts using a mobile application. UPI has enabled an exponential increase inDigital Payment transactions in the country and brought in transparency, convenience and speed into a wide spectrum of digital transactions. In about 5 years since launch, its growth has eclipsed all debit and credit card payment transactions and is still registering exponential growth. In June of 2021, UPI enabled2.8 Bn transactions, that moved up to 3.2 Bn in July, 2021 and 3.55 Bn in August, 2021. UPI has brought unprecedented level of mobile-based access to low cost banking and payment services.


Third, Co-WIN App, which is an open platform for management of registration, appointment scheduling, managing vaccination and certification. Co-WIN has helped us integrate the entire gamut of services related to COVID-19 vaccination drive under a single-window, which is readily accessible to public. This has helped to align all stakeholders and remove information asymmetry. By enabling effective monitoring of utilization and coverage of vaccination, Co-WIN has also helpedus reduce wastage and allocate our resources in an optimal manner.Over 874 million vaccinations have already been facilitated by Co-WIN App. Digital vaccination certificates are instantly availableto the citizens immediately after the vaccination. Recently, this technology platform handled more than 25 million vaccinations in a single day.


In short, I will like to emphasize that our Digital Public Goods are leveraging public data for open innovation models fostering economic and social inclusion. They enable a low entry barrier eco-system that fosters continuous and frugal innovation through public private partnership. They also create huge opportunities for our Startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards socio-economic development. National Public Digital Platforms are now taking shape in healthcare, education, agriculture, an inter-operable criminal justice system, logistics, joining up skills and jobs, and many others. Our digital eco-system is helping companies emerge as unicorns. As many as 26 companies have become unicorns in just 38 weeks so far in this year.


Strengthened technological cooperation between member states through transfer of technology and capacity building is key to deliver on the promises of sustainable development. Under the South-South cooperation, India has been sharing its experience and expertise with development partners around the world. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister has already announced India’s readiness to make Co-WIN platform available globally for interested countries. We look forward to working with our partners to share our experience in harnessing technology and innovation for the prosperity of humanity.


Thank you very much.