People Plus:
Building for

Innovate beyond Boundaries: Building for Billions with Digital Public Infrastructure


26 August 2023



Why this

“Building for Billions” is our shared vision. As we stand at the intersection of tradition and technology, every digital step we take resonates with the aspirations of countless individuals. This August, Delhi, the heart of India, becomes the focal point of this transformative dialogue. Are you ready to be part of India’s next chapter? To shape its future, one conversation, idea, and innovation at a time? Join us. Let’s craft a legacy for billions together.

Building for
Billions in India

India’s journey is unparalleled. From Varanasi’s bustling lanes to Bangalore’s tech hubs, our challenges are as diverse as our opportunities. And in this dynamic landscape, technology plays a pivotal role. It’s more than just code and data; it’s the bridge turning ambition into tangible change. This is the essence of Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs); at EkStep Foundation, it’s our mission.

About EkStep Foundation

At EkStep Foundation, our journey reflects the evolution from seed to vast forest. Led by the architects of solutions like Aadhaar and India Stack, tailored for billions, we stand for equal opportunity, no matter one’s roots. We utilise technology as a connector and catalyst through society, markets, and government. Beyond seeking change, we galvanise collective action, ensuring every step has an impact. 


Building for Billions’ is a movement, a collective vision of a nation ready to harness the power of technology for good. Our speakers aren’t just thought leaders but the architects of this digital revolution. With insights carved from years of shaping India’s digital narrative, they’re here to light the way.

Opening Note

Shankar Maruwada

Co-Founder and CEO at EkStep Foundation

Shankar has more than 25 years of experience across corporate, entrepreneurial, nonprofit and government sectors. This allows him to bring the best of thinking from different lenses, which he has used in shaping EkStep’s strategic choices of achieving population scale impact.
He was part of the startup team at Aadhaar. He also set up one of India’s first successful data analytics companies – Marketics.
His alma mater IIT Kharagpur’s motto of ‘Yoga is excellence at work’ inspires him in his work in the development sector. He is also an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Vision Talk: India's Digital Transformation: The People + Advantage

Nandan Nilekani

Co-Founder & Chairman of EkStep Foundation

Nandan Nilekani is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Infosys Limited and founding Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). He is also the chairman of EkStep Foundation, a not-for-profit to improve basic literacy and numeracy for millions of children. In Jan 2023, he was appointed as the co- chair of the “G20 Task Force”. Fortune
Magazine conferred him with “Asia’s Businessman of the year 2003”. He received the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative services in economy and politics in 2005 and Padma Bhushan in 2006. He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Vision Talk: People + Samaaj Sarkaar & Bazaar for Inclusive Digitalisation

Rohini Nilekani

Co-Founder and Director, EkStep Foundation

Rohini Nilekani is an Author and Philanthropist. She is the Chairperson of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and Co-Founder of EkStep, a non-profit education platform. She is also the Founder and Former Chairperson of Arghyam, a foundation she set up in 2001 for sustainable water and sanitation, which funds initiatives across India. From 2004 to 2014, she was Founder-Chairperson and Chief Funder of Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher that reached millions of children during her tenure. She is an alumnus of St. Xaviers, Mumbai.

Vision Talk 1 - Supercharging the Gig Economy in a Digital World

Adil Zainulbhai

Chairman, Capacity Building Commission,
Government of India;
Chairman, Network18; TV 18
Board Member, Cipla, Reliance Industries, Jio, L&T, Piramal Foundation;
Board Member, ONDC

Known as one of the world’s foremost management consultants, Mr. Zainulbhai retired as the Chairman of McKinsey & Co., India after a thirty-four-year career. He was also the former Chairman of the Quality Council of India. Mr. Zainulbhai holds an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Vision Talk 2 - Cultivating An Innovation/Entrepreneurial Economy

Anjali Bansal

Founding Partner, Avaana Climate and Sustainability Fund;
Founding Member, Advisory Council, ONDC;
Former Non-Executive Chairperson, Dena Bank of Baroda;
MD and Partner TPG PE; McKinsey & Co.

Anjali Bansal is a dedicated climate advocate and Founding Partner of Avaana Climate and Sustainability Fund. She also serves as an independent Non-Executive Director on several leading Boards including Tata Power, Nestle and Piramal Enterprises, and chairs the Climate Council within Indian Venture Capital Association. She has been listed as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Indian Business” by India’s leading publications, Business Today, and by Fortune India. Anjali is an alumnus of Columbia University and Harvard Business School.

Vision Talk 3 - Unlocking India’s Generation AI

Debjani Ghosh

President - NASSCOM

Debjani Ghosh, NASSCOM’s President since April 2018, is a tech industry veteran and the organization’s first woman leader in its three-decade history. A proponent of human-centric tech for improved lives, she champions ethical and responsible use of tech. Debjani has driven NASSCOM’s responsible AI practices and formulated India’s “Techade” vision for sustainable, equitable, and world-class tech transformation. In 2018, Debjani was felicitated by the President of India under the auspices of the ‘First Ladies’ program, recognized by Vogue as the Tech Leader of the Year in 2020. Previously leading Intel India, MAIT, and NASSCOM executive council member, Debjani believes in the mantra of continuous learning. She is an alumnus of S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.

Vision Talk 4 - Consumers as Creators in a Digital Society

Rohit Saran

Editorial Advisor, India Today Group
Formerly: Editor-in-Chief, Times of India Digital;
Managing Editor, The Times of India;
Editor, Khaleej Times
Executive Editor of The Economic Times & India Today

Rohit has been a journalist for over two-and-a-half decades, and has played the roles of reporter, writer, anchor, editor, data analyst and visualizer in his career. He launched India’s first ‘made for mobile’ news media product: Times Internet. He is regarded as India’s leading data journalist and visualiser and has seeded several data-based storytelling properties for leading news brands over a distinguished career. He is an alumnus of Delhi University.

Vision Talk 5 - Unlocking Opportunities Through Open Networks in a Digital Society

Thampy Koshy

MD & CEO, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)

Mr Koshy is the MD & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Open Network for Digital Commerce
(ONDC), a first-of-its-kind initiative globally to democratize e-commerce in India. An IIM Bangalore alumnus, he was part of the founding team of National Security Depository Limited (NSDL) and served as an Executive Director. He also marked a remarkable stint in Ernst & Young, leading key digital transformation initiatives. Mr Koshy has been a pioneer in Digital ID and social protection initiatives and has played a leadership role in many implementations and consulting projects globally including the UID project of India, the largest ID program in the world along with many other digital ID initiatives globally. He has also played a significant role in several other e-Government initiatives, including the Expenditure Information Network, the Project PLATINUM for the development of a legal and IT framework sector, and the automation of VAT functions in a few Indian states.

Vision Talk 6 - Reimagining Systems as Globally Connected Ecosystems

Keyzom Ngodup

Head of Digital Programming, UNDP Chief Digital Office Board member, Digital Public Goods Alliance

As part of the Executive Office at UNDP, Keyzom works with governments and digital ecosystems to shape the future of development and the role of multilaterals in digital transformation. She leads digital programmes across UNDP’s network of 171 countries and catalyzes new models of collaboration to create a community of ingenious people working collectively to solve complex challenges. She collaborates on frontier areas that member-states face to foster new models of global digital cooperation across the UN and the multilateral system. She is an alumnus of Cornell University.

Vision Talk 7 - System orchestrators - A New Archetype to Work at Scale

Ashish Dhawan

Founder-CEO, The Convergence Foundation;
Founder-Chairperson, Central Square Foundation;
Board member, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Ashish Dhawan is the Founder-CEO of The Convergence Foundation (TCF) which is focused on accelerating India’s economic growth and development. Ashish is also the Founding Chairperson of Ashoka University and Central Square Foundation. Central Square Foundation has been a leading voice for foundational literacy and numeracy in India and currently
supports several state governments in improving learning outcomes in the early
grades. Before his second career as a philanthropist, Ashish was among India’s most
successful private equity investors. He founded and ran ChrysCapital, the country’s
leading private equity firm. Ashish is an alumnus of Yale University and received his
MBA from Harvard Business School.

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead

NSN Murty

Partner & Leader, Government & Public Services, Deloitte

With over two decades of continuous learning experience spanning from grassroots to boardrooms, Murty’s passion for Government transformation, GovTech, and cities has led him to traverse every nook and corner of India, as well as to various smart cities across the globe. He has worked on several first-of-its-kind projects/programs and gained rich experience in smart mobility, InfraTech, public safety, security, and more. Murty is an alumnus of Birla Institute of Management.

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead

Sanjay Kumar

Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education

Sanjay Kumar is a 1990-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer and looks forward to providing quality, accessible and affordable education to every student in the country. He was the former Secretary, Department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and has also served as the Principal Secretary of Education in Bihar. Shri. Sanjay has held several key positions in the Government of India and has been instrumental in implementing various policies and reforms. He is an alumnus of St. Stephens and Stony Brook University.

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead​

Arti Ahuja

Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment

Arti Ahuja joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1990 after completing her Masters in Economics and LLB. She has a career spanning more than 30 years in the Central Government and the State, mostly in the social sector, including health and nutrition. She previously held charge of Secretary, Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals and worked in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as Additional Secretary. She performed the duties of Nodal Officer for Covid-19 during the pandemic. Smt. Arti was a Member of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, an Independent Global Report brought out every year; and was also a Senior Honorary Research Associate at the Global Institute of Health, University College, London. She is an alumnus of Princeton University and Harvard University.

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead​

Abhishek Singh

MD & CEO, Digital India Corporation (DIC);
President & CEO, NeGD;
CEO, Karmayogi Bharat, Govt of India

Shri. Abhishek Singh is an IAS officer from the 1995 batch with diverse experience of administration, managing law and order, implementing development programs, and of policy formulation at Central Government with regard to use of technology for improving governance. He has made remarkable contributions to the citizen engagement platform of the Government of India, enabling participative governance and coordinated projects relating to Digital India, especially Digilocker & UMANG. As CEO, Karmayogi Bharat, he is building a tech platform for Capacity Building for all government servants. Shri. Abhishek is an alumnus of IIT and Harvard Kennedy School.​

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead

Dr. Basant Garg

Additional CEO, NHA, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Dr. Garg has held several important positions in his career while serving under the Government of India and the Government of Punjab. He is well known for his service as the District Magistrate and Deputy Commissioner of Fazilka, Bathinda, and Amritsar. As Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, he implemented the Swachh Bharat Mission for solid waste management and the AMRUT mission for managing water supply and reusing of wastewater. He is second-in-command at the National Health Authority and in charge of policy formulation, design, and implementation of flagship healthcare schemes of the Government of India. Dr. Garg is a medical graduate from Government Medical College, Chandigarh.

Panel: India's Techade - The Road Ahead

Dr Pramod Varma

CTO, EkStep Foundation;
Architect, and

Dr. Pramod Varma is the former Chief Architect of Aadhaar, India’s digital identity program that has successfully covered more than 1.3 billion people. He was also the Chief Architect for various India Stack layers such as eSign, Digital Locker, and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), and Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA). He also played an integral role in architecting India’s digital health infrastructure (ABDM), vaccination and immunization infrastructure (Co-WIN and DIVOC), and Unified Health Interface (UHI).

He is currently the CTO of EkStep Foundation, a not-for-profit creating learner-centric digital public goods under Project Sunbird that powers India’s largest digital learning platform called DIKSHA. Pramod holds a Master’s and Ph.D. degree in Computer Science along with a second Master’s in Applied Mathematics. He is an alumnus of JNU, Delhi.

Summary of the Global Virtual Conference (25th August)

Astha Kapoor

Co-Founder, Aapti Institute

Astha Kapoor is the Co-founder of Aapti Institute, a Bangalore-based research firm that works on the intersection of technology and society. She has over a decade of public policy and strategy consulting experience, with a focus on use of technology for welfare. At Aapti, Astha leads the Data Economy Lab, a vertical established to research and test new methods of data sharing, data stewardship and governance. Her recent work is focused on participative governance of data, and its use for building collaborative AI, through collective governance methods such as cooperatives. Astha also works on digital public infrastructure, and has most recently led the development of a playbook on the DPI approach for India’s G20 presidency (with UNDP and MeitY). She is an alumnus of the Institute of Social Sciences and Erasmus University.

ONEST Network Transaction Stories

Gaurav Gupta

Chief Growth Officer, EkStep Foundation

Gaurav is passionate about solving large scale societal problems leveraging technology. He is a business leader and an ecosystem & growth architect with more than 22 years of cross-functional experience across several industries and geographies. A start-up guy, Gaurav has played a significant role in the growth journey of many start-ups and new initiatives of large organizations. Gaurav is an alumnus of XLRI-Jamshedpur and IIT-Roorkee and has held leadership positions at Flipkart, Accenture Management Consulting & Marketics (India’s pioneering analytics company).

Closing Note

Jagadish Babu

Chief Operating Officer, EkStep Foundation

Jagadish Babu is the Chief Operating Officer of EkStep Foundation and has been part of the EkStep leadership team from the very beginning of the EkStep journey in 2014. He has over 25 years of working experience across private, government and non-profit sectors. He has worked at the intersection of technology and its applications in solving problems at scale. He joined team Aadhaar in 2010 at Unique Identification Authority of India. There, he was responsible for establishing the devices ecosystem for enrollment and authentication, and feasibility of authentication at scale across fingerprint and iris modalities. He was also a part of the National Digital Education Architecture Committee, a member of the Registry Committee constituted by the Ministry of Education, AI Advisory Group at the Ministry of Agriculture. Jagadish is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.​


Day 1

People Plus : Building for Billions | 25th August

6 PM – 9pm IST – Virtual Global DPI Event

(Use Conference Link to Join the event)

6.00 pm - 6:02 PM

Welcome Address

Alok Gupta

Chief Solutions and Product Officer, EkStep Foundation

6.02 pm - 6:08 PM

Opening Note

Shankar Maruwada

CEO & Co-Founder, EkStep Foundation

6.10 pm - 6:40 PM

Fireside Chat on The “DPI Advantage”

Nandan Nilekani

Co-Founder & Chairperson, EkStep Foundation – Moderated by Dr. Pramod Varma

6.40 pm - 7:25 PM

Gaining the DPI Advantage: What the world is looking for

Panel Chaired by CV Madhukar, CEO – Co-Develop

7.25 pm - 8:10 PM

Gaining the DPI Advantage: Actions for Transformation

Panel Chaired by Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Thinking

8.10 pm - 8:55 pm

Unlocking Possibilities for the World by the Market Players

Panel Chaired by Dr. Pramod Varma, CTO, EkStep Foundation, Co-Chair, CDPI, Co-Founder FIDE, former Chief Architect of Aadhaar & India Stack. Moderated by Dr. Rudra Chaudhuri, Director, Carnegie India

8.55 pm - 9:00 PM

Closing Remarks & Next Steps

Astha Kapoor, Co-Founder, Aapti Institute

Day 2

People Plus : Building for Billions | 26th August

Hotel Eros Intercontinental, Nehru Place, Delhi

9 am - 10 am


10 am - 10:02 am


Ms. Shwetha Rao

10:02 am - 10:09 am

Opening Note

Mr. Shankar Maruwada

10:10 am - 10:18 am

Vision Talk 1 - "Supercharging the gig economy in a digital world"

Mr. Adil Zainulbhai

10:19 am - 10:27 am

Vision Talk 2 - "Cultivating an innovation/entrepreneurial economy"

Ms. Anjali Bansal

10:28 am - 10:36 am

Vision Talk 3 - "Unlocking India's Generation AI"

Ms. Debjani Ghosh

10:37 am - 10:45 am

Vision Talk 4 - "Consumers as creators in a digital society"

Mr. Rohit Saran

10:46 am - 10:54 am

Vision Talk 5 - "Unlocking opportunities through Open Networks in a digital society"

Mr. T. Koshy

10:55 am - 11:03 am

Vision Talk 6 - "Reimagining systems as globally connected ecosystems"

Ms. Keyzom Ngodup

11:04 am - 11:12 am

Vision Talk 7 - "System orchestrators - A new archetype to work at scale"

Mr. Ashish Dhawan

11:15 AM - 12 Noon

Panel on "India's Techade - the road ahead"

Shri Sanjay Kr
Smt. Arti Ahuja
Shri Abhishek Singh
Dr. Basant Garg
Dr.Pramod Varma

Moderated by Mr. NSN Murty

Mr. NSN Murty

11:55 AM - 12 NOON

Summary of Global Virtual Conference held on 25th August

Ms. Astha Kapoor

12 Noon - 12:40 PM

Tea & Experience Showcase

Persona-based Experience showcase

12:40 PM - 1:50 PM

Breakouts in 3 Tracks of:
Lifelong Learning
AI for Societal Good
Open Networks

3-5 minute Transformation Talks by 5 speakers in each track followed by 40 minutes of activity

1:50 pm - 3:15 pm

Lunch & Experience Showcase

Persona based Experience showcase

3:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Vision Talk 'India's digital transformation: The People + advantage" for 15-20 minutes followed by Q&A

Mr. Nandan Nilekani

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm

ONEST Network Transaction Stories

Mr. Gaurav Gupta

4 pm - 4:15 pm

Vision Talk "People + : Samaaj Sarkaar & Bazaar for inclusive digitalisation" for 8-10 minutes followed by Q&A

Ms. Rohini Nilekani

4:15 pm - 4:25 pm

Ek Action and Closing Note

Mr. Jagadish Babu

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

High Tea & Networking

Why Attend 'Building for Billions'?

Engage at the intersection of tradition and technology, where every dialogue has the potential to redefine India’s digital landscape.

Play an active role in crafting the future of Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs), setting the tone for a nation on the cusp of a digital revolution.

Learn from Visionaries who’ve been at the forefront of India’s digital journey, offering a blend of expertise and real-world experiences.

Collaborative Impact: Join a collective of government officials, CEOs, and changemakers, all converging with a shared vision to harness the power of DPI for the betterment of billions.

Strategize for Tomorrow: Understand the challenges and opportunities unique to India and strategise on actionable solutions that can be implemented in real-time.

Be Part of the Movement: ‘Building for Billions’ isn’t just an event; it’s a movement. By attending, you’re not just observing—you’re actively participating in shaping India’s digital destiny.

Empower and Be Empowered: Immerse yourself in an environment where every conversation, every session, is geared towards empowerment—of individuals, communities, and the nation.

Past Events


The Venue

Eros Hotel

Nehru Place,

New Delhi – 110019, India

Media & Press

Media Kit

PDF version of Seed to Forest Book

Contact for Media Inquiries

Quorum, No. 85, 7th Cross
4th Block, Koramangala
Bangalore – 560034
Karnataka, INDIA

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