In May, we examined the possibility of Southeast Asian countries working together to create a regional COVID-19 Vaccination Certification (CVC) system. How far have Southeast Asian countries come in their CVC efforts? What form can certificates take and how can their authenticity be verified, given the limitations in infrastructure and capacity? Will mutual recognition of CVCs be possible when the type of vaccines and their doses differ significantly across countries in the region? We explore these questions, summarizing the discussions of a recent webinar on this very topic.
CGD Policy Blogs
As shown by the technical underpinnings of its Ehsaas emergency program, Pakistan has all of the necessary building blocks to roll out its digital payments system and expand access to mobile money. It should seize the opportunity.
The story of the m-Pesa’s penetration in the Kenya economy is a well-trodden yet exciting path into what feels like a taste of a cashless future. All that said, Kenya is not the country with the most adults holding mobile money accounts. It’s Bangladesh.
What Can India's Biometric ID System Do for Development? – Podcast with Aadhaar Architect Nandan Nilekani
India's biometric ID system Aadhaar has provided over a billion people with digital IDs, and changed how the country's government provides services and subsidies. But opponents of the system say that Aadhaar erodes people’s privacy. Nandan Nilekani, the chief architect of the platform, joins the CGD podcast to address these concerns, discuss the platform's progress, and share his vision for future uses of "societal platforms."
Aadhaar has already demonstrated the potential of digital ID to transform systems of governance and increase efficiency of private transactions. By addressing the genuine concerns of individual privacy and data protection, it can lead by example as it has done on the technological side. The right to privacy judgement by India's Supreme Court is an opportunity to make Aadhaar a bigger success than it already is. India can learn from other countries to do just that.
The state of Rajasthan in north India has become the digital frontier, with a program that registers all family members under a single identity document known as the “Bhamashah Card,” but it still has to overcome significant challenges of poverty and inequality. In a state that is similar in size and population to Germany, it is no small achievement to take on the ambitious task of providing each family with a unique ID and deliver it within a short span of three years.
Today, June 30, marks six months from the day Indians had to change their old 500 and 1000 rupee notes following the “demonetization shock” announced by the government. The turmoil in the economy has since calmed to a large extent. In the past six months, the government also launched a concerted effort to wean Indians away from cash as the preferred method of payment for transactions.
It has been more than 100 days since the Modi government declared that the two largest denomination notes in India—the 500 and 1000 rupee notes—would no longer be accepted as legal tender. The announcement of “demonetization” had an immediate and sweeping effect on Indian households, which were no longer allowed to use the notes (outside of a few narrow exceptions) and were given less than eight weeks to deposit or exchange them.
Should India go for Universal Basic Income or not? This year's Economic Survey includes a thoughtful, cogent, and thorough discussion of the potential to replace India’s vast complex of subsidies and targeted in-kind benefits to the poor with a guaranteed cash transfer to all citizens.