India Stack – What, Why, How?

Before delving into each of the APIs, it is important to understand the “Why” aspects of India Stack. The blog entry title “India Stack: Thoughts on unleashing the potential of Digital India”, is the first in the series of blogs to address exactly that. This blog, at a high level, talks about:

The underlying architecture of the India Stack

A couple of illustrated examples of the impact of India Stack on various domains

Some thoughts on building economically viable digital solutions for the bottom of the Indian pyramid

This blog has also has links to key videos and resources to help you get the essence of India Stack.

It is important to understand Aadhar – the foundation of India Stack API was envisioned to be more than just an identity solution. UIDAI has published a fantastic white paper titled “Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery” (2012), explaining how Aadhaar (unique identity) can solve the problems of service delivery across various sectors and government functions. Efficient service delivery was one of the key tenets in the design of the India Stack.

Two videos, by Sanjay Jain and Pramod Varma respectively give you a great introduction to India Stack:

Connecting India to Grow – Sanjay Jain

Understanding the India Stack – by Pramod Varma

Enhancing the Developer Experience

A world-class developer experience and ecosystem are required to unleash innovation across the developer community. The important aspect to realize is that India Stack represents an Open ecosystem and best served with contributions from the community.

The developer strategy to provide this experience can be summarized into the following streams:

Platform Evangelism & Outreach: To harness the collective creativity of the developer ecosystem, there should be a strong community, both online and offline. This can be fostered through meetups, hackathons, roundtables, AMA sessions, workshops, developer conferences and programs (like Student Ambassador program etc.).

Libraries, Forums and SDKs: To productively leverage a set of APIs, it is important to have a SDKs and libraries available through a popular set of platforms like .NET, Java, Node.js, etc. Additionally, there should be a set of topic-based forums to post queries and get resolutions from community champions. Forums can also be a channel for feedback as well.

Quickstarts, References, Sample Apps and API documentation: Much like popular services like AWS, there needs to be a simple-to-use documentation, representative examples (simple apps which cover a majority of API usage scenarios) and other easy to use code samples (quickstarts).

To this end, OpenForge is a great government initiative to house such collaborative efforts. Today, many such samples and projects are already housed there and developers can use the source control, wiki’s and other resources that are already built in.

Developer Sandboxes: To test out solutions and apps, it is important to provide access to sandboxes which developers can easily use. Cloud-based sandboxes and access credentials will be provided through a closed group of partners. IndiaStack.org has listed several sandboxes for different sets of APIs (eMudra, Khosla labs, etc).

One stop shop – IndiaStack.org: To tie all of these together, a modern, responsive portal is required and IndiaStack.org does just that.

It is important to understand that the developer community involvement is central to this – a constant stream of contributions from the community would make this strategy successful. It is therefore a call to action for the developers to actively engage and contribute to each of the streams above.

 

If you would like to learn more about each of the India Stack APIs, you may go through the following pages:

Aadhaar Authentication: http://indiastack.org/aadhaar/

eKYC: http://indiastack.org/ekyc/

eSign: http://indiastack.org/esign/

Digital Locker: http://indiastack.org/digilocker/

UPI: http://indiastack.org/upi/

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