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India advised to launch ambitious blockchain strategy

By Hugh Wilson

Government think tank says blockchain could ‘revolutionise’ interactions between government, business and citizens

India should promote blockchain technology as a means to increase trust in government and private sector interactions. This is according to a draft strategy document by government-backed think tank NITI Aayog.

The paper, entitled Blockchain: The India Strategy, presents the case for the implementation of distributed ledger technology in areas like land and property transactions and pharmaceutical supply chains.

The paper states: “Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise interactions between governments, businesses and citizens in a manner that was unfathomable just a decade ago... Blockchain has the potential to revamp currently existing processes to unlock new sources of efficiency and value.”

The paper notes the challenges India faces in implementing public services given the country’s size, scale and complexity. Businesses trying to comply with “cumbersome regulatory oversight” is also a factor.

In both cases it suggests blockchain technology as a way to simplify interactions and encourage self-regulation through a trusted and transparent medium.

NITI Aayog has undertaken pilot projects in four areas: tracing drugs in a pharmaceutical supply chain, claims verification for fertiliser subsidies, transfers of land records and verification of academic certificates.

The paper concludes: “Major savings can be achieved in resource conservation by reducing intermediaries as well as [in the] administrative effort of record keeping and transaction reconciliation.”

The paper is the latest evidence of the Indian government’s increasing interest in the potential of blockchain. Last month the country’s National Institute for Smart Governance, another government body, published its own draft blockchain strategy.

FURTHER READING: IBM launches blockchain app to trace source of coffee

FURTHER READING: Amazon to invest $1 billion to bring small businesses in India online

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