Over the past three years we have conducted numerous field visits in seven Indian states.These visits include numerous video-conversations, some short and others very long, with a diverse number of those who were involved with this entire process of participating in the emergence of a digital ecosystem of governance. These are interviews with people being enrolled into the Aadhaar programme, with district-level Panchayat and other officials, with numerous State government bureaucrats, with private enrollment representatives, representatives of various governmental services, with operators and other members of this digital workforce. Conversations are often long, spontaneous and deliberately unstructured: and the focus is mainly on a vérité style using amateur video.
Some key issues that we shortlisted for detailed inquiry were issues of migrants, both domestic and across international borders, homelessness in cities, and the financially excluded. Each of these areas was discussed in considerable detail at major public consultations held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore, in partnership with the CSDS, the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, and the Urban Research and Policy Programme Initiative of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. All videos of all presentations made at these events are also available here.
CSCS also has an extensive text archives of material on the field as a whole, available on http://eprints.cscsarchives.org
Interview with Dilip Debnath, resident, Uttar Majlishpur who owns a small furniture business in the village , and had taken a loan from Basix, the micro finance institution. He is in the process of repaying the loan but is not aware of the interest that he’s paying to Basix. He does not own any farming land and therefore engaged in other businesses, which he says is possible since the government is doing good work with development of villages, through NREGA and housing schemes.
The Identity project emerged as a result of our dissatisfaction at the nature of the debate that was emerging on the area of digital governance in India.