Advancing E-governance for development: Digital identification and its link to socioeconomic inclusion


Work data:

ISSN: 0740-624X

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | ICT Infrastructure | ICT4D


internet voting, e-voting, digital identity, eID


The literature on e-governance has highlighted the potential of ICTs to enable good governance and socioeconomic development by leveraging stakeholders and resources within and outside the government to address specific challenges. A significant challenge in many developing countries is the inability of large segments of the population—particularly, the vulnerable poor—to receive and benefit from services or public provisions because they lack a means of formal identification. Various digital identity projects worldwide have attempted to address the problem through an umbrella approach dubbed identification for development (ID4D). However, little is known about how digital identity advances e-governance by enabling socioeconomic development through inclusion. This study examines the inclusion and developmental significance of digital identity by drawing on thematic analysis of secondary data from 40 published studies based on the empirical context of India’s Aadhaar—the world’s largest digital identity scheme which enables service delivery to over 1.2 billion people. From our analysis, we identify themes of digital identity and socioeconomic inclusion and develop a theoretical account of their relationship. The resulting framework contributes towards advancing e-governance for development by showing how digital identity might enable inclusion.