Sherab Lhamo

A total of 19,724 users have requested for Foundational ID on Bhutan National Digital Identity (NDI) since its launch three months ago, showing a good reception and adoption of the digital wallet.

An official from Bhutan NDI said that those individuals who grasp the potential risks concerning privacy, data security, and consent have expressed enthusiasm for the Bhutan NDI.

A house owner said that she started using NDI and saw the difference while paying taxes, she said that login using NDI for the services was seamless. While on the other hand, some also struggled to understand on-the-surface benefits of NDI, said the official.

Nima, a resident of Thimphu said she doesn’t know how to use services through NDI, she added that it might be because there are no services she has to use through NDI currently.

Bhutan NDI is slowly being integrated into citizen services (g2c portal) enabling users with an option to sign in passwordless.

Starting 1 April 2024, the single sign-on (SSO) used while signing in for g2c services will be removed and individuals who do not have an NDI wallet will then have to manually register and sign in for individual services in g2c. But for those who have an NDI wallet they can scan the QR code to log in.

While using Bhutan NDI wallet, users will no longer need to remember multiple credentials, as it has a passwordless login feature.

Bhutan NDI partnered with Dessung to pilot NDI education and advocacy campaigns in three dzongkhags – Haa, Trongsa and Bumthang, going door-to-door to provide hands-on support for onboarding. While providing support they also relayed errors, questions and comments in real time to the NDI’s concern team to address issues and errors while onboarding.The campaign was completed on December 15, 2023.

For now, Bhutan NDI is working on redesigning the campaign strategy based on the experience from the pilot campaign. In the coming months, they are also going to start campaigns in other dzongkhags with a pivoted strategy, said Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications of Bhutan NDI, Pallavi Sharma.

She added that the objective was to cover all 206 gewogs to ensure inclusion on the NDI platform.

Pallavi Sharma said, this year Bhutan NDI would be expanding use cases as well as features of the app. It would onboard and integrate services in banking, finance, insurance, education, telecommunications, health, tax and utility on issuer and verifier platforms along with government regulated services.

They are also working on launching a chat feature in the app, a web-app supported by feature phones and ultra-budget smartphones (such as KaiOS and Android Go). While also working on developing wallets that support guardianship for those individuals who are physically or legally incapable of managing their digital identity.

For those individuals who have query, Bhutan NDI has channels to assist individuals with NDI-related queries and concerns, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and generative AI chatbot on their website, with a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions. They also have a toll-free 1199 help desk.  Step-by-step tutorial videos can be also found on their YouTube page.