A Unique Digital Identity for All

Nandan Nilekani and Varad Pande draw up a plan to provide every individual with a digital identity capable of validating who they are.

What is the Big Bet? To provide every individual with a digital identity capable of validating who they are, so that anyone can open a bank account, get a mobile phone connection, book a train ticket and take advantage of a government service.

Why is there a need for this Big Bet? Millions across the world do not have access to something very fundamental: A simple legal identity giving them the opportunity to prove who they at all times.

What could be the effect of the Big Bet? For the voiceless millions, a digital identity not only has the potential to guarantee access to basic social services for all, but also to function as a platform for inclusion, innovation and the fight against corruption. In India, almost a billion are benefiting from a digital identity, and the model is scalable. Near-universal mobile phone penetration, the maturing of biometric technology, decreasing prices of smartphones and the exponential increases in cheap computing power and storage makes this big bet applicable across the world.

We believe that if done right – as an online, real-time, multi-modal biometric-based system with ubiquitous verifiability – digital identification has the potential to transform the life of every human being.
Nandan<span class='and-author'></span>Nilekani <span class='and-author'>&</span>Varad<span class='and-author'></span>Pande
NandanNilekani &VaradPande
Nandan Nilekani was the founding Chairman of India’s Unique Identification Authority of India, and took Aadhaar from drawing board to at-scale implementation.
Varad Pande, Partner and Co-Lead of Financial Inclusion at Dalberg. Varad was Special Advisor to India’s Minister for Rural Development between 2009-2014, a member of the team that launched Aadhaar.