NSDL e-Governance relies on open source platforms to diversify services


The company, which is also considering an initial public offering (IPO) on Indian stock exchanges, has helped establish the basic infrastructure for e-governance, which includes the tax information network, the PAN card issuance service, record keeping for the central pension system, and Aadhaar and e-KYC authentication services.

While NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure will continue to focus on government, it wants to replicate these open source platforms in other sectors.

“Until now, we have been an actor in infrastructure and have largely laid the rails. We now want to expand this proposition to also become a product supplier or a product designer, and provide a platform as a service, ”Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and CEO, said in an interview.

However, he declined to comment on the IPO plans.

“If you look at the ecosystem, today it’s about open technologies, open software, open APIs (application programming interfaces). And since we have leveraged the Indian stack so well, even as we have built our own business lines on identification and authentication, we now want to integrate more of it, ”Sethi said.

In the healthcare sector, NSDL e-Governance is already leading a pilot project at the Indian Academy of Pediatrics based in Mumbai “to create a holistic 360 degree model, with an emphasis on clinic level”. The idea is to introduce a diagnostic management system that will help physicians digitize their entire clinical practice using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

NSDL e-Governance uses the same standard protocols as the National Health Stack architecture, according to Sethi. “So far we have contacted around 500 clinics. These clinics will now use teleconsultation systems to connect and connect to specialized services. “

NSDL e-Governance has currently launched three specialist services in the area of ​​cancer, immunodeficiency and nutrition, and plans to add more.

For education, NSDL e-Governance uses an open source platform called Sunbird which provides modular building blocks for human learning and development and is open source under an MIT license.

“The entire Indian government K12 system that Diksha uses today runs on Sunbird. It is a federated architecture in which several players can come and host their content. It has a phygital model (physical combined with online) and different ways of consuming information. It also has a telemetry variable where you can see the impact of, you know, how people are consuming it, ”Sethi said.

According to Sethi, NSDL e-Governance works “in close collaboration with the Ekstep Foundation, founded by Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani and Shankar Maruwada, which manages this platform”. The company is “working on a plan with the Foundation” to build a business model that can provide a “competence as a platform” and “host third party partners who can provide their own content; having people who can consume information; and run a full lifecycle around trainees. ”The platform will include digital certification.

Sethi, who is also a member of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) advisory board formed in July, pointed out that NSDL e-Governance’s pilot project of running an open source taxi call platform at Kochi was successful, and “has now gone live as a full-scale project.” We provided the gateway and registry infrastructure services. ”Along with ONDC, Sethi noted, NSDL e-Governance is trying to play a similar role in digitizing the kirana (neighborhood grocery store) or retail segment. electronics by providing the gateway services there, as an infrastructure player and also becoming an ecosystem catalyst to bring market players to join these open networks.

Asked about protests from large e-commerce companies against the move, Sethi said, “ONDC is all about inclusiveness. Ultimately, we as consumers are the ones who will benefit. ONDC is not a platform; it is a protocol and anyone who adopts it will have the opportunity to converse to enable digital commerce. Anyone can access this network, even the big players (in reference to the big e-commerce companies). “

As part of its diversification, NSDL e-Governance is setting up for-profit cybersecurity advisory units for companies and startups.

“Some of our internal cybersecurity practices are probably up to what many companies want as a cybersecurity framework,” said Sethi, explaining why his company wants to provide them as an advisory service to third-party clients. . “This is a big area that we are focusing on,” he added.

NSDL e-Governance is studying the establishment of an agricultural advisory unit on similar lines. “We have ongoing discussions on how we can use Sunbird as a platform to provide consulting services in a federated structure where there may be multiple information providers. And then, how to reach the last mile, whether it is the POs (farmers’ organizations and producers) or the farmers themselves in terms of information consumption ”, noted Sethi.

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