Digital India Initiatives

Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI): New Backbone of India’s Economy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), Other digital initiatives

Mains level: India's Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), Remarkable success and way ahead


Central Idea

  • India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) is a unique marvel of our times that has brought together the government, regulators, private sector, volunteers, startups, and academia to create a superstructure that delivers consistent, affordable, and across-the-board value to citizens, government, and corporate sector alike.

What is India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI)

  • India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) refers to the collection of technological systems, platforms, and services that enable the Indian government, businesses, and citizens to interact digitally.
  • The DPI is often referred to as the India Stack, which was built through a unique partnership between the government, regulators, the private sector, selfless volunteers, startups, and academia/think tanks.
  • India Stack includes a number of building blocks such as Aadhaar (a biometric identification system), e-KYC (electronic know your customer), UPI (Unified Payments Interface), and DigiLocker (a cloud-based document storage system).


DPI in India

  • India, first country to develop all three foundational DPIs: India through India Stack became the first country to develop all three foundational DPIs digital identity (Aadhar), real-time fast payment (UPI) and a platform to safely share personal data without compromising privacy (Account Aggregator built on the Data Empowerment Protection Architecture or DEPA)
  • Techno-legal regulatory frameworks in India: Techno-legal regulatory frameworks are used to achieve policy objectives through public-technology design.
  • For example: India’s DEPA offers technological tools for people to invoke the rights made available to them under applicable privacy laws. Framed differently, this techno-legal governance regime embeds data protection principles into a public-technology stack.
  • DPI most feasible model: DPI has emerged as the most feasible model due to its low cost, interoperability and scalable design, and because of its safeguards against monopolies and digital colonisation.

Aadhaar and the private sector

  • Rebirth of Aadhaar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision enabled Aadhaar to become the rocket ship for launching good governance in India. Currently, over 1,700 Union and State government schemes use Aadhaar.
  • Aadhaar and the private sector: After the Supreme Court’s affirmation of privacy rights, Aadhaar is gradually being opened to the private sector. Aadhaar holders can voluntarily use their Aadhaar for private sector purposes, and regulated entities can store Aadhaar numbers using secure vaults. These changes are leading to the next leapfrogging of India Stack.
  • Three changes: The next leapfrogging of the India Stack, with a dynamic political executive and inspired volunteers, will happen with three changes, voluntary usage of Aadhaar for private sector purposes, sharing of Aadhaar data between government departments, and the creation of a new private sector-friendly UIDAI.

DigiYatra and DigiLocker

  • India Stack’s greenfield market innovation potential can unlock various services such as DigiYatra, which offers a free biometric-enabled seamless travel experience through facial recognition systems, and DigiLocker, which has 150 million users and six billion stored documents.
  • Plans are afoot to expand DigiLocker to many countries around the world.

Facts for prelims

Initiative Description Launched by
DigiLocker Cloud-based document storage platform for citizens Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
DigiYatra Digital travel experience initiative for air travellers Ministry of Civil Aviation
DigiSeva Digital service delivery platform for government services Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
DigiGaon Digital village initiative to provide digital infrastructure Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
DigiShala Digital classroom initiative to promote digital education Ministry of Human Resource Development
DigiPay Digital payments platform for government services National Payments Corporation of India
DigiSaksham Digital literacy initiative to empower citizens Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
DigiDhan Digital payments and financial inclusion initiative Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
DigiSangrah Digital repository of cultural resources for citizens Ministry of Culture
DigiMuseums Digital initiative to showcase Indian museums online Ministry of Culture

Impact of unified payment interface (UPI)

  • The unified payment interface UPI which is breaking records under the visionary leadership at the National Payments Corporation of India
  • UPI has now crossed eight billion transactions per month and transacts a value of $180 billion a month, or about a staggering 65% of India’s GDP per annum.



  • India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) can be seen as India’s second war for independence, this time for economic freedom from the daily struggles of transactions and bureaucracy. DPI has emerged as the new backbone of India’s economy, propelling it towards the goal of achieving a $25 trillion economy by the 100th year of India’s political independence. With the convergence of ChatGPT and India Stack, we can only imagine the tremendous progress and innovations that could spark a new era of economic growth and development, much like the Cambrian explosion in evolutionary history.

Mains question

Q. What is India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI)? Explain the building blocks of the India Stack and their significance.

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