Dr. Pramod Varma
CTO, EkStep Foundation

Dr. Pramod Varma

Dr. Pramod Varma is the former Chief Architect of Aadhaar, India's digital identity program that has successfully covered nearly 1.4 billion people. He was also the chief architect for various India Stack layers such as eSign, DigiLocker, and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), all of which are now working at population scale in India. He played an integral role in architecting India’s digital health infrastructure, vaccination and immunization infrastructure (Co-WIN & DIVOC).

He is currently the CTO at EkStep Foundation, a not-for-profit helping build Digital Public Infrastructure such as DIKSHA and ONEST network in education and skilling sectors via open source digital building blocks under project Sunbird. DIKSHA currently provides learning opportunities to 200+ million children and 10+ million teachers in India. Sunbird building blocks are used in other learning, skilling, and capacity building efforts in India and other countries.

In addition, he is the Co-Founder of FIDE, co-creator of the open source Beckn Protocol that helps create decentralized open discovery, fulfillment, and transaction networks in various domains. Beckn protocol is the base protocol for India’s new efforts such as Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC.org), Kochi Open Mobility Network, Namma Yatri, and ONEST.

He is an adjunct faculty at IIIT-B and Co-Chair at the global Center for DPI, a non-profit, helping countries design and architect Digital Public Infrastructure systems in addition to building local capacity.

He is an advisor to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), National Payment Corporation (NPCI), Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), National Health Authority (NHA), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), Turing Institute Identity Initiative in the UK, and helps with many DPI initiatives in India and across the globe. He is a regular speaker, evangelist for open source efforts, and actively advocates DPI approach as a means to drive inclusive and equitable economic growth.

Pramod holds a Master’s and Ph.D. degree in Computer Science along with a second Master’s in Applied Mathematics. His interests include Internet scale distributed architectures and intelligent systems. He is passionate about technology, science, society, and teaching.

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