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Indian state to adopt blockchain in governance

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The Indian state of Maharashtra has announced plans to implement blockchain. This follows multiple pilots with distributed ledger technology. Areas to be targeted include the streamlining of agriculture marketing, supply chain, vehicle registration and document management system.

The Maharashtra Information Technology Directorate has been handed the reins for the implementation of blockchain in the state. According to a report published by Indian English-language daily DNA India on 19th August, the Maharashtra state government has allotted 100 million rupees ($1.4 million) for blockchain adoption for the current fiscal year. Of that amount, 40 million rupees ($560,000) was approved to implement specific projects.

“A regulatory sandbox, which will be a common framework (for adopting blockchain technology across government departments), will be prepared in the next five to six months,” state information technology department principal secretary SVR Srinivas told DNA. He added that the state government has completed its first blockchain pilot in the fields of health, supply chain, document management and education certificates.

The existing system of document verification in the state is marred with corruption, with the Maharashtra Revenue department being the most corrupt, according to a report published by India’s Anti-Corruption Bureau. This is where blockchain will come into play to provide transparency to the citizens. “Blockchain will disrupt government interdepartmental workflows as all departments would be able to see the same version of the file,” Prakash Jayaram, partner-advisory at global consultancy EY had told Economic Times.

Maharashtra is not the only Indian state to dip its toes in the technology. Andhra Pradesh already leads the pack with its implementation of blockchain in land acquisition for its new capital Amravati. Apart from these two states, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat are also evaluating the application of blockchain. 

Maharashtra is the second-largest state of India and contributes about 15% to the country’s GDP at present. It is also the second most industrialized state of the country. Last year, former Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the government is exploring applications of blockchain to support the ambitious plan of ‘Digital India’.

According to the Blockchain Report 2019 by NASSCOM, adoption of distributed ledger technology in India is rapidly growing, with investments in blockchain-based projects touching over $20 billion across various industries.

Several governments around the world are exploring blockchain. Some of the most advanced in terms of implementation include China and Dubai.