Two state governments in Southern India are leading the race to incorporate blockchain technology into government systems, transforming the way data is recorded and secured.
In a report by The Economic Times, India’s leading business news daily, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have tapped blockchain technology to their land registry programs.
The state of Telengana, in particular, has already begun a land registry pilot project in parts of the state’s capital of Hyderabad. Notably, the blockchain will also see integrated with the state’s revenue department, with help from the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The record of the blockchain will be made available on an open platform “where anyone can see who holds the land” confirmed C-DAC director E Magesh. Underlining blockchain’s core feature of immutability, the technologist also added that the program will enhance transparency of records while ‘the integrity of the information is maintained.’ A complete rollout of the program across Hyderabad and adjoining semi-urban areas is likely to occur in the next 6-12 months.
In the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh (AP), the government is looking at expanding its blockchain program beyond land records to civil supply databases. As reported by CCN in late 2016, the AP government has already explored blockchain technology to fight cyber crime. A workshop organized by technology giant IBM toward as a part of a state digitization program even had IT forensic experts give a crash course to the local police on blockchain technology.
JA Chowdary, the state’s IT advisor to the chief minister, stated:
All our sensitive data is in digital format. With blockchain, even if someone hacks, our data will be safe.
Indian state government databases are frequently targeted by cybercriminals for the sheer volume of citizens’ information stored in them. The AP state government, as an example, maintains a database of 103 million ration cards. Blockchain technology is seen as the solution to secure government-recorded data. Departments of the state government, including several police stations, were affected by the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak.
“Within 6-8 months, land records for Andhra Pradesh can go on blockchain to prevent any kind of duplication or forgery with the revenue department’s data on pensions etc., can also be moved to blockchain by next year,” stated Sandeep Singh, co-founder of blockchain startup Snapper which is working with the AP government to aid in its digitization program.
Andhra Pradesh is also the first and only Indian state to have partnered with Singapore’s central bank to promote financial technologies like digital payments toward a cashless future and the advancement of blockchain development. The partnership will also see Singapore’s central bank help develop FinTech-specific educational programs for the Indian state’s curriculum.