Integrating AI Into India’s Digital Public InfrastructureDr. R.S. Sharma, Former CEO of NHA, on the Next Phase of India's DPI
With the core architecture of India's massive Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) firmly established, the emphasis is now shifting to expanding and scaling up platforms that are part of the comprehensive digital network. Efforts are directed toward enhancing user experience and backend analytics by increasingly integrating AI technology into DPI initiatives.
Dr. R.S. Sharma, former CEO of the National Health Authority and a renowned digital public infrastructure expert, highlighted the pivotal role generative AI will have in enabling multilingual interactions across these diverse platforms, especially within healthcare, where LLMs and generative AI could play a crucial role in diagnostics.
"We envisage the development of 'pay-as-you-use' AI-driven platforms, where individuals can upload their X-rays or MRI scans. The AI system would then generate preliminary analysis and diagnostic reports, useful for obtaining second or third opinions," he said. AI's proficiency in analyzing vast datasets will also pave the way for tailored recommendations based on diagnosis.
Digital Healthcare: The Way Forward
Besides functionality, a key objective in scaling digital healthcare is improving accessibility. The Indian digital infrastructure, characterized by interoperability, scalability, open APIs and standards, is now focused on making digital health solutions accessible to every citizen.
The CoWIN platform, launched for the purpose of COVID-19 vaccine management, is now being expanded and repurposed into a national vaccination and immunization program, with added features for doctors and an interoperable video consultation platform.
"Open standards, open API and interoperability are the hallmarks of India’s DPI. The blueprint of India's DPI holds the promise of even greater innovation and progress in the realm of AI and data analytics to deliver public services," Dr. Sharma said.
Grounded in the Aadhaar digital identity project or UIDAI, the key platforms forming India’s DPI include UIDAI for identity, UPI for payments, DigiLocker for credentialing, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission for healthcare, CoWIN for vaccine management, eSign for signatures, and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) for commerce. The next phase will be centered around user-centric and data-driven digital services.
As these DPIs evolve, becoming more agile and scalable with technological advancements, India continues to showcase them as a compelling case study for other nations. The G20 Digital Economy Ministers achieved a groundbreaking consensus on defining, framing and establishing principles for DPIs, making them an open-source digital infrastructure. This global agreement is seen as an opportunity for countries, especially in the global south, to emulate India's impact by embracing DPIs as a catalyst for progress and growth.
With notable achievements and significant strides, India has emerged as a digital powerhouse in recent years. The potential advantages of adopting DPIs extend beyond borders, particularly benefiting developing nations. The advancements in DPI efforts are not just a continuation but a leap forward, where AI, data analytics, and user-centric design converge to redefine the landscape of public services. The journey so far has been impressive, but the real transformative potential lies ahead, paving the way for a future where digital infrastructure becomes synonymous with empowerment, accessibility and innovation.