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IMF hails India's digital transformation, asks other countries to learn from it

India's development of a "world-class digital public infrastructure" serves as a model for other nations undergoing digital transformation, according to a working paper by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The paper, titled 'Stacking up the Benefits Lessons from India's Digital Journey,' credits India's building block approach and focus on supporting innovation for the success of its digital public infrastructure (DPI).

The building block approach involves identifying a minimal common core to solve a set of problems. For a diverse country like India, this approach provides basic tools for creating tailored solutions.

The paper emphasises the need for interoperability between different DPIs and competition-focused design to support a vibrant ecosystem. India's interoperability is supported through open standards, allowing anyone to use India Stack's functionality.

The paper notes that India's principles have been applied to other DPIs in education and health, including the COVID-19 vaccine distribution platform, CoWIN. Using a digital backbone allowed India to scale its vaccine delivery quickly and overcome challenges such as large-scale internal migration.

CoWIN's technology has also been deployed in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Jamaica to facilitate their vaccination programs.

India's recognition of the importance of Information Technology (IT) in developing the identity layer is also highlighted. Before the Aadhaar card, India had various identity cards and databases, but none had universal coverage or the ability to handle a billion-plus citizens.


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