Convocation Speaker

Dr. Pramod Varma

Former Chief Architect Aadhaar & India Stack,

Chief Technology Officer at EkStep Foundation,

Dr. Pramod Varma is the former Chief Architect of Aadhaar, India's digital identity programme 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 immunisation 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 more than 200 million children and to more than 10 million teachers in India. Sunbird building blocks are used in other learning, skilling, and capacity-building efforts in India and other countries.

Dr. Varma is also the Co-Founder of FIDE, a co-creator of the open source Beckn Protocol that helps create decentralised open discovery, fulfilment, and transaction networks in various domains. Beckn Protocol is the base protocol for India's new efforts such as Open Network for Digital Commerce (, Kochi Open Mobility Network, Namma Yatri, and ONEST.

He is an adjunct faculty at IIIT-B and Co-Chair at the global Centre for Digital Public Infrastructure, 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.

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

View Convocation Speech

Himani Pandey, IAS

Chairperson, Interim Governing Council,

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

During this 43rd convocation at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, I would like to congratulate each one of you as you mark the culmination of a journey of creativity and innovation at one of the premier design institutions of the world. The National Institute of Design (NID) enables the forging of ideas into transformative designs that shape the future.

The time you spent at NID signifies a commitment to excellence and a passion for pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking. This institute has given you a unique opportunity to hone your skills, collaborate with diverse minds, and explore the uncharted realms of design. As you must have realised by now, design is a powerful tool for problem-solving, user experience, and for creating societal impact.

In these dynamic times, where the world needs fresh perspectives, your role as young designers is pivotal. Embrace new challenges with resilience, curiosity, and a thirst for knowledge and creativity. Each project from the graduating batch represents an opportunity to make a difference. The world anticipates the mark you will make as a new generation of trained and talented designers, and we have full confidence that your time at NID has been the catalyst for a brilliant future.

I also applaud the faculty and staff of NID; their guidance shapes young minds that are at the forefront of creativity for nation building. I wish you continued success in nurturing the next generation of innovative designers.

I wish all the young designers of this batch a trailblazing and an enriching journey ahead.

Shri Praveen Nahar


National Institute of Design

I extend my warmest congratulations to each of you on reaching this significant milestone in your academic journey. Today marks not just the end of your time at NID but the beginning of a new chapter as you step out into the world as accomplished designers.

This year's convocation theme symbolises the evolution from a student to a designer, highlighting the manner in which we come from diverse origins and converged within a shared space, fostering connections, collaboration, and collective growth.

Throughout your time at NID, you've embraced challenges such as the global pandemic, explored and expanded your creative territories in diverse domains, and acquired skills to become the young designers we celebrate today. Your dedication to your work, coupled with your individual perspectives, has contributed to the vibrant and dynamic culture of the institution. Congratulations for your resilience, constant adaptation, and hopefulness.

Remember that design is a journey, not a destination. The provocative projects you have undertaken, all the extended hours of ideation and explorations, and the juries and critiques have all played a pivotal role in shaping you as young designers.

As you transition from young designers to young design professionals, you must carry with you the spirit of curiosity, inquisitiveness, and the courage to question the status quo. With the changing context of the world, embrace the ever-evolving landscape of design with resilience, inclusion and adaptability to influence, inspire, and innovate with a sense of responsibility.

As you embark on your professional journey, remember the impact your work can have on individuals, communities, industries, and society at large. Design will extend itself to play a conscious role in maintaining balance and harmony with people and their environment amidst a consumerist society. And as designers, we may have to constantly discover newer ways to attain this.

The NID community is vast and diverse; all NID alumni and fellow young design graduates are now part of your professional network. These connections will not only enrich your personal and professional life but also serve as a source of inspiration and collaboration in the years to come.

On behalf of the entire NID community, I wish you success, fulfillment, and boundless creativity in your future endeavors. Congratulations, and may your design journey continue to unfold with passion and purpose.

Dr. Jignesh Khakhar

Dean, NID Gandhinagar Campus

“May you live in interesting times”, the adage or saying goes. For a designer, the ‘times’ have always been interesting, and, much more than that, for 'interesting' is too narrow a term to describe the times we live in. ‘Ambiguous’, ‘uncertain’, ‘precarious’—these are just a few adjectives that can be used to describe the ‘now’. But, lest the designer forget, we also live in hopeful, beautiful, and exhilarating times. Moments that are worth living for and where perhaps the parafunctional role of design becomes clearer—to instil optimism. As optimists, you are well placed to bring about that glimmer of hope and change in whatever ways and means possible, however small. What kind of world would you like to inhabit and inherit? It is in those dreams that design dwells.

I wish you a great career and life ahead.

Dr. Mamata N. Rao

Dean, NID Bengaluru Campus

Firstly, cherish the milestone achieved in completing your academic journey at NID. Congratulations to all of you.

As you step out into the world, remember that there will always be many more opportunities for learning and growing. You can learn from individuals, different cultural traditions, and diverse professional practices both in the local and global contexts. Remember that we are just specks in the universe; remain humble and develop respect for diverse perspectives. Be open to gaining understanding from your surroundings and the individuals that you work with. You will soon realise there is so much to learn if you can focus on improving yourself rather than criticising others.

Along with the various skills and conceptual abilities that you have honed at NID, going further, nurture and build a few hands-on skills that make you feel good, which will provide you companionship, relaxation, and work as a tool to de-stress. With all the continuous learning, you will need immense perseverance, honesty, and hard work to bear the ups and downs of professional practice. Contribute your best and create a healthy ecosystem for others as you go forward.

As I sign off, I would like to quote former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”

Best wishes to all in your future endeavours.