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Maharashtra, India to adopt blockchain tech for governance

Maharashtra, India’s second-largest state, is preparing a regulatory sandbox for testing blockchain technology solutions across various applications.

The state’s government is adopting the technology in a bid to increase efficiency in their operations.

According to reports, the Maharashtra is planning to deploy blockchain technology in the areas of vehicle registration, agriculture marketing, supply chain, and document management systems.

The Maharashtra Information Technology Directorate will be the nodal agency responsible for the implementation.

The government has earmarked IN ₹10 crores (about US $1.4 million) for the adoption of blockchain technology and IN ₹4 crores (about US $560,000) has been approved by the implementation committee.

A government official told reporters that the state has already completed its first blockchain pilot in the fields of health, supply chains, documents, and secondary school certificates (SSC). A detailed report has been prepared to go in for extensive use of blockchain technology in various government departments.

A regulatory sandbox, which will be a common framework for adopting blockchain technology, will be prepared over the next five to six months.

Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency and accountability and enhance the government’s delivery of services. A blockchain is built by running software and linking several nodes together.

An industry expert said that the technology can simplify and speed up the authentication of important documents like proof of birth, family lineage, and rights of ownership once they are recorded. This is crucial when the existing processes are painful and time-consuming.

In 2017, Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to pilot blockchain technology. The state also created the largest repository of used cases for global start-ups to test their solutions. It deployed blockchain technology to address cybersecurity issues.

Last year, the central government launched a blockchain initiative called IndiaChain. The project was developed by the country’s policy commission, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). Through it, the government planned to enforce contracts quicker, prevent fraud, and ensure the efficient disbursement of subsidies for farmers.

It also linked the IndiaChain project with IndiaStack, which is its identification database for the Aadhar initiative. The technology has helped the government track taxes that come from all around India through a unified and secure system network, an attempt to reduce tax evasions.

The network system was intended to be used for supply chain management, land records, identity management, education certificates, benefit and power distribution, cross-border finance, and EHRs (electronic health records).

Blockchain is also being extensively implemented in the country’s banking sector. Several banks in the country have started to invest heavily in the technology. Blockchain solutions are expected to increase operational efficiency and transparency in banking operations because it eliminates a number of manual processes. It also improves banking experiences for customers by reducing transaction time from hours to seconds.

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

As technology is relatively new and still evolving in the country, clearing the misconceptions and overcoming legal restrictions around bitcoin are the primary obstacles the industry faces.

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