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How ‘Digital Public Goods’ helps transform access 
Interview with Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani has been a strong advocate of digital public goods for enabling widespread access of public utilities to all strata and sects of the Indian population. He is also the tech pioneer and thought-architect behind the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and Adhaar platform, the largest unique digital ID system in the world. At Engaging India at Almedalen 2022, he speaks about how digital public goods are providing access to public utilities to Indian citizens.


Territorial-based emissions vs Consumption-based emissions
Used commonly in relation to carbon emissions, Territorial-based Emissions (also known as ‘Production Emissions’) refer to those emissions that take place within a country’s boundaries, including exports. On the other hand, Consumption-Based Emissions refer to those based on the final domestic consumption, including imports. (source)
Systems Perspective
Systems Perspective considers the behaviours of a system as a whole in context of its environment. In this, one considers the relationship between the different parts of the system, additional information that might represent the behaviours of the system, and the interactions between the system and its environment. The idea is to view this system in relation to its environment, and not in isolation. For example, in the seminar on energy transition for climate neutrality at Engaging India at Almedalen 2022 (link to page), Dr. Ramanthan speaks about approaching technological development in the energy debate through a systems perspective by studying what kind of technologies countries need to enable the energy transition, take into account that it might fail, and thus, also prepare for a buffer period.
Risk Matrix
A risk matrix is an assessment tool that determines the level of risk in any project by weighing the category of ‘Probability’ against the category of ‘Consequences.’ In other words, it assesses the likelihood of a risk occurring in any project, and the potential impact that it is ought to have. A risk matrix can help companies, governments and researchers in decision making, and formulating mitigation strategies for any problem. (source)
Digital Public Goods
Digital public goods (DPG) are open-source software, open data, AI models, standards and content that make Digital Public Infrastructure an operational reality. e.g. payment and data exchange systems. DPG’s open format can be freely adopted and adapted, offering countries cost savings and digital sovereignty – control over technology and data – in building out their DPI. Digital sovereignty maintains countries’ flexibility in decision making and unencumbers their efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (source: OECD)
Population scale
Population scale refers to building digital products and services where every person in the country can get equal access to various resources, products and services. That means, in a country, every individual should get access to these products and services. Scale here also refers to being able to use these anywhere in the country. (souce: Nandan Nilekani’s keynote speech at Engaging India, 2022)
Social Development
Social Development refers to the notion of improving the well-being of every individual through qualitative changes in the makeup of a society to help each person reach their true potential, live in better, more enabling conditions, be self-sufficient, and to build a society based on policies and values of equality of opportunitiy, solidarity and participation. (sources 1, 2, 3)
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