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Ashwini Vaishnaw: Expect UPI-like platforms for logistics, agri, education: Ashwnini Vaishnaw

The government wants to develop various platforms such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to expand tech-driven good governance in the country, said Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Electronics and IT.

Vaishnaw told ET the government was working with the National Digital Health Mission to roll out a UPI-like model, which will be used for other areas such as logistics, agriculture and education.

These would be developed and democratized so that they could be used by anyone, he added.

“The government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has created a model of good governance that puts ordinary people at the center and builds everything around them. Be it systems, technologies, processes or schemes, they all empower ordinary citizens and ensure that things run smoothly, without corruption and in a highly transparent manner,” said Vaishnaw, who is also the minister of communications and railways. The idea, he said, was to use technology in a way that mimics the success of UPI, the Jan Dhan bank accounts and the digital Direct Benefit Transfer schemes, among others.

“It is mainly aimed at bringing the good governance model to many more sectors. The basic blocks are there, right? Healthcare is therefore a large sector in which the National Digital Health Program is doing very well,” said the minister. “This will be almost like UPI, where the government creates the platform that everyone joins. Logistics, agriculture and education… all these sectors will experience phenomenal growth with the help of distribution right.”

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It was because of the efficient use of such a platform that the government was able to roll out and implement the Covid-19 vaccination program at such short notice, he said.

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“Our CoWIN platform enabled us to perform 219 crore vaccinations in a short period of one year and 10 months. Big, powerful, rich countries are still struggling with their vaccination programs even now,” he said.

Again, it was the efficient use of technology that had made the board more transparent, Vaishnaw said.

For example, the government had recently conducted a recruitment exam in which more than 10 million candidates passed an entrance test with no allegations of leaking questionnaires, the minister said.

Aside from the IT ministry, technology had also helped the government establish better governance models, he said.

“We have repealed 1,500 archaic, useless laws that were irrelevant. It is a huge step forward to build a society that is sustainable, growth-oriented and brings lasting change to the lives of ordinary people.”

There are 450 million Jan Dhan accounts and 1.35 billion people now have a digital identity – Aadhaar – in the country.

Nearly 75,000 shell companies have been deregistered, Rs 1.25 lakh crore in black money has been seized and Rs 4,300 crore worth of benami properties have been seized, he said.

Vaishnaw said large natural resources are auctioned in a very transparent allocation process.

“Remember the coal and 2G scam. Today they are out of the news, right? We have a very transparent way of allocating coal mines, a very transparent way of allocating minerals and allocating spectrum. The government has only received Rs 4.64 lakh crore from spectrum sales from 2014 to 2022… These are good examples of the prime minister’s framework for good governance,” he added.

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