BMDV visits India to exchange on digital public services

India

Dr Rudolf Gridl, Director General of the Central Department at the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), visited New Delhi on 6 and 7 March 2023. His aim was an exchange on the digitalisation of government administration and digital public services. BMDV and the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) organised the delegation visit within the framework of the Indo-German Digital Dialogue.

Meeting between BMDV and MeitY. © MeitY

The BMDV delegation headed by Dr Gridl met with several representatives from government, industry and civil society in India. Both sides shared their current priorities in the digitalisation of government administration. They highlighted the need for data protection to ensure trust in and acceptance for digital public services.

The Indian government has accelerated the pace of digitalisation within all aspects of government and governance in recent years. Meetings with organisations like the Indian Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), National eGovernance Division (NeGD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) concentrated on different aspects of the ongoing digitalisation.

Looking into digital public services in India

At NDMC, the delegation gained insights into the last-mile-delivery of services in the New Delhi municipality. The digitalisation of education and health, among other areas, plays a significant role in the work of NDMC. The delegation's meeting with MoRTH then focused on the digitalisation of driving licences and car registrations. They further discussed common challenges as well as opportunities to undertake such initiatives in a federal system.

In the meeting with NeGD, the delegation learned about DigiLocker, an initiative towards paperless government, and UMANG, the unified platform aggregator of major government services. They also exchanged with the National Informatics Centre Services Inc. on digitalising government offices and public administration. Together, they explored questions such as how existing personnel can be made fit for change and what IT security standards should look like.

When visiting the Indian government think tank NITI Aayog, both sides discussed the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in shaping government administration. They also spoke about the responsible and ethical use of AI.

Visit to the Automated Driving Test Tracks in New Delhi where 3000 driving tests are completed daily. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Common challenges and opportunities

During the exchange with the Indian institutions, Dr Gridl stressed the importance of the digitalisation of public services. He also shared challenges that Germany faces. Digitalisation can facilitate the access to public services, but requires a strategy for secure data processing.

Dr Gridl gave an overview of the German Data Strategy which aims for a secure and strong data governance to advance sustainable growth and innovation. Moreover, he explained the role of BMDV within the implementation of the German government’s Digital Strategy.

Further meetings with representatives of the Indian industry and civil society focussed on aspects of public data as well as current trends, such as the increasing use of digital public platforms in India. During their visit to New Delhi, the delegation also visited an automated driving licence test centre to experience the delivery of government services first-hand.

The visit of Dr Gridl to India deepened the partnership of the two countries in digital transformation. It also showed that the Indo-German Digital Dialogue is an important instrument to facilitate cooperation on digitalisation and digital policy.

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