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Government developing UPI, Health ID like digital ecosystems for other sectors, but privacy concerns loom

The Centre’s plans to adopt these systems may increase the scope for data breaches, especially without a privacy law in place.

"It is very important for the government to put its weight behind the construction of healthy ecosystems," IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said at the Global Fintech Fest 2021 when answering a question on how the government sees data democratisation taking place. Giving the UPI and the recently announced account aggregator system as examples of healthy ecosystems in the financial space, and the National Digital Health Mission as an example in the healthcare space, Sawhney said that the government is developing similar digital ecosystems across several sectors, including education, legal, agriculture, and logistics. Does this mean more unique IDs? "In health care, people using their health ID and their personal health record will be able to take advantage of a connected, pan-India health ecosystem where all the hospitals and health service provider facilities are registered, all the doctors and professionals are registered," Sawhney said. "Similar system is coming in place in education where it has started with Diksha. Similar thing is happening in agriculture. A similar thing is likely to happen in logistics. Something very similar is taking place in bringing the justice system and joining it up with the policing or CCTNS kind of systems and forensics and prisons and prosecution so that an interoperable criminal justice system takes shape." While Sawhney uses Health ID as an example to illustrate his point, it is unclear if all the proposed ecosystems will also require the issuance of such unique identification numbers. For example, Diksha is an initiative of the Ministry of…

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