With its digital public infrastructure (DPI) initiative, India has pioneered the use of technology for inclusion. Discuss.


India offers valuable lessons on how countries can make use of the digital economy for growth, inclusion, and poverty reduction and the World Bank is sharing the lessons of India’s DPI journey with other countries.


  • Introduce your answer by defining inclusion and its significance in ensuring equitable access and integration into the economy and governance.
  • In the main body, explain DPIs as advanced, government-managed frameworks that promote societal digital transformation, integrating services like digital identities and payment systems. Discuss their role in promoting inclusion by enhancing accessibility, financial inclusion, public service delivery, and governance.
  • Conclude by emphasizing how DPIs have been pivotal in ensuring that the benefits of digitalization are inclusive and widespread.


Inclusion refers to the process of improving the terms of participation in society for people who are disadvantaged on the basis of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status. It is crucial as it ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities necessary for a sustainable and harmonious society. In the context of India, inclusion targets the integration of diverse populations into the mainstream economy and governance through innovative means.

Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs):

  • These are advanced frameworks developed and managed by governments to foster a comprehensive digital transformation across society.
  • These infrastructures integrate various digital services, including digital identity systems, service delivery platforms, and data exchange mechanisms.
  • DPIs are designed to be inherently inclusive, characterized by features such as interoperability, openness, low-cost access, and transparency.
  • This design not only supports broad societal participation but also promotes economic progress and are instrumental in achieving the SDGs by enabling enhanced service delivery and governance at scale.

India is at the forefront of this digital revolution, leading globally in the development of DPIs. Through initiatives like India Stack, the country has dramatically expanded its ability to leverage digital technologies across its population.

Role of DPI in Promoting Inclusion:

  • Digital Identity: Systems like Aadhaar have transformed access to services by providing a unique identity that links to various government and financial services.
    • As on 29th September 2023, 138.08 crore Aadhaar numbers were generated.
  • Financial InclusionJan Dhan Yojana: This initiative has significantly facilitated financial inclusion, enabling individuals, particularly in rural and underbanked areas, to open bank accounts and access financial services, enhancing their financial security.
    • 5 million Jan Dhan accounts were opened with 56% account holders being women.
  • Public Service Delivery: DPI has enabled the transformation of the government service delivery by building the world’s largest direct benefit transfer system that has aided about 615 million people who received USD 322 billion directly into their accounts.
    • Overall savings of more than USD27 billion across key central government services and schemes.
  • Governance: Digital Governance Platforms are crucial for transparent and efficient public service delivery, reducing corruption and increasing trust in government processes.
    • Digital India and e-governance initiatives like UMANG.
  • Enhancing Healthcare Delivery: Telemedicine and Digital Health Records are parts of India’s DPI that have made healthcare more accessible and efficient, particularly in remote areas where healthcare services are limited.
    • Platforms like eSanjeevani are providing remote consultations.
  • Education Through Digital Platforms: such as SWAYAM and NPTEL provide free access to courses from India’s premier institutions, making education more accessible and inclusive.
    • Over 20 million learners are using SWAYAM, democratizing access to education.
  • Digital Payments: UPI and Digital Wallets have revolutionized the payment landscape in India, increasing economic activity by making transactions quicker and more transparent, thus promoting financial inclusion.
    • DPIs are poised to propel India towards a $1 trillion digital economy by 2030, helping the country to become a $8 trillion economy, according a NASSCOM report.
  • Empowering Rural Development: Agri Stack aims to make it easier for farmers to get easier access to cheaper credit, higher-quality farm inputs, localized and specific advice, and more informed and convenient access to marketsand implement various farmer and agriculture-focused benefit schemes.
  • Gender Inclusion in Digital Access: Targeted Gender Policies have been crucial in ensuring that DPI initiatives are inclusive of women, addressing specific barriers they face such as access to technology, affordability, and digital literacy.

DPIs have driven significant societal transformation and made substantial contributions to the Indian economy by enhancing inclusivity and accessibility in digital adoption. These infrastructures are pivotal in shaping a connected and inclusive digital future, ensuring that the benefits of digitalisation reach all layers of society.

‘+1’ Value Addition:

  • Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani said DPI is a philosophy and a belief that technology can actually transform society, improve lives, enable financial inclusion and create economic growth in a more equitable manner.
  • Mature Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) like Aadhaar, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and FASTag have seen widespread adoption, contributing $31.8 billion or 0.9% to India’s GDP. By 2030, their economic contribution is expected to rise to between 2.9% and 4.2% of GDP.
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