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The National Academic Depository—meant to digitize and store all academic records from secondary to tertiary level institutions—has now been established. If implemented as planned, it will reduce friction in the formal sector, allowing background checks for prospective employees, and chip away at the cottage industry of fake academic credentials.

It is part of a digital agenda pushed by the Narendra Modi administration, and the United Progressive Alliance government before it, that has substantial economic potential. Digitizing land records, for instance, allows for land’s potential as an asset and collateral to be realized and reduces strain on the legal system. And in urban areas, digitization of real estate titles could help address the problems with urban property tax. Because of poor records, the amount urban local bodies are able to collect from property tax is relatively minuscule.

There is also the added benefit of undercutting corruption. The problem, however, is implementation. From the gap between intent and execution to protecting citizen privacy, there is a long way to go.

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