India Stack — the application program interface that incorporates Aadhaar, Jan Dhan Yojana and Smart Phones, among other things — is at a ‘tipping point’ of changing the way the economy grows, according to Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India.

The huge verifiable data made possible by the Aadhaar card, a unique ID card issued to over 1.4 billion people; the financial inclusion through JDY bank accounts, and smartphones enabling secure online transactions will be the drivers of India’s economic development.

Nilekani, talking on the theme “An alternative view of the future” marking the launch of the Chennai International Centre today, said conventional thought was that exports of goods, manufacturing and large number of jobs generated by big industries drive economic growth as they have done for Japan, South Korea and China.

But in India, due to internal and external developments, economic growth will come from domestic consumption, services and a large number of small businesses generating employment, he said.

What drives this change will be the JAM trinity.

The Aadhaar card is a database of over a billion-users, which is an authentic, biometric verifiable database created by the government.

There are few such platforms on that scale – just about a dozen in the US and mostly in the private sector.

In this backdrop, the proliferation of smart phones, which are growing at about 25 million every three months, and set to reach over 700 million users by 2020 and 330 million internet users, means a huge capacity for enterprises to connect with users and for generation of data. With the introduction of tablets and smartphones with iris identification ability, secure transactions are bound to grow multi-fold.

“India will go from data poor to data rich,” Nilekani said. This kind of an ability and “high trust network” will also drive online businesses across sectors, including transportation, healthcare and education.

Global scenario Globally, the business environment is also changing as markets protect themselves. Data shows global trade is going down and domestic consumption on the increase. Services are contributing more to the economic growth and manufacturing sector is generating fewer jobs with increasing technology and automation.

Integrated market India is well-positioned to benefit as it is a large integrated market for services banking, insurance, telecom, pensions even if it is a fragmented market for products.

“The digitisation will do for services sector what industrial revolution did to manufacturing – increase productivity,” he said.

The CIC, promoted by leading industrialists and professionals, will act as a neutral platform for thought leaders and opinion makers in diverse fields to share their views and to encourage debate.

The Chennai Centre is the fifth after the India International Centre in Delhi, and those in Goa, Bengaluru and Pune.