Over the last two decades, India has built the world’s largest digital biometric identity and real-time payment systems. Its use of digital technology has enabled India to achieve financial inclusion for 85% of its population—when only 20% had access to formal banking a decade ago. The key building blocks are the Aadhar digital identity system, which has issued a biometric identification number to 1.3 billion people, or 99% of the population, and the Unified Payment Interface or UPI, an instant payment system that is used by citizens throughout the country, even for very small purchases. As the New York Times recently reported, “Billions of mobile app transactions — a volume dwarfing anything in the West — course each month through a homegrown digital network that has made business easier and brought large numbers of Indians into the formal economy.” Dr. Pramod Varma, chief architect of Aadhar and other elements of India’s “digital stack,” will speak about what India did and what other countries can learn from its innovations.
Dr. Pramod Varma is currently the CTO of EkStep, a not-for-profit organization creating learner-centric technology enabled platform designed to provide learning opportunities to 200 million children in India. He is an advisor to the National Payment Corporation (NPCI), the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and helps with many digital public infrastructure initiatives.
This hybrid event will occur at the Malkin Penthouse. Registration is appreciated, but not required.
Divya Goel and Dr. Pramod Varma, “From Platforms to Protocols: India’s Story of Leapfrogging Financial Inclusion,” https://medium.com/digitalhks/from-platforms-to-protocols-indias-story-of-leapfrogging-financial-inclusion-c5c127ec57a2
Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar, “Where Digital Payments, Even for a 10-Cent Chai, Are Colossal in Scale,” The New York Times, March 1, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/01/business/india-digital-payments-upi.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare
Speakers and Presenters
Pramod Varma, CTO of EkStep