Researchers and practitioners have demonstrated that the benefits of blockchain and distributed ledgers aren’t limited to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The technology, including blockchain, also has the potential to transform government activities by offering new ways of organizing processes and handling information. The Indian government is increasingly investing in this technology, across a variety of projects.
From updating land records to creating digital repositories, a concerted effort toward digital transformation with blockchain is afoot all over the country. The government of Tamil Nadu, for instance, recently set up a blockchain-driven framework that can be used by government departments to modernize their legacy platforms and extend citizen services on a secure, encrypted ledger with zero downtime, meaning raw data is sufficiently encrypted to scrub it clean of user data or identities.
Other e-governance centers in the remotest villages of India are beginning to use interfaces - with blockchain-led backend services - to access services such as birth certificate verification, legal heir certificates, and so on.
The case of the Telangana government is especially remarkable, as it has been digitising land records on a blockchain platform for a few years now.
Moreover, the Telengana government set up the platfrom “Telengana Blockchain District” to help stakeholders to collaborate and build solutions in blockchain technology, and consequently, an ecosystem of blockchain startups has been thriving in the region.
The Central Government is looking at multi-institutional approaches to put other use cases to the test, so they can be emulated elsewhere.
In its National Strategy on Block Chain document late last year, the Indian Ministry of IT and Electronics (MeitY) showcased the Telangana example to say land record verification is an executable idea in other districts; several proof-of-concepts are in place for the application of blockchain in making digital artifacts, verifying sale deeds and academic certificates, as well as Central Know Your Customer (CKYC) methodologies.
For the near term, the MeitY aims to set up a National Blockchain Framework, which would serve as a central, shared infrastructure for government agencies. The MeitY is also pressing cutting-edge tech institutes such as IITMadras and IIT-Kanpur in developing products for government services. Soon, India could really become a blockchain innovation hub.
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