Indian State Uttar Pradesh to Move Land Revenue Records to Blockchain
Another Indian state has jumped on the blockchain bandwagon. In a bid to secure land registries and revenue records, the state of Uttar Pradesh is the latest in the nation to embrace distributed ledger technology (DLT). The move comes at a time when cryptocurrencies, the digital assets made possible by blockchain tech, are currently being scrutinized in a banking ban case in India’s Supreme Court.
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Next Up? Land and Revenue Records
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and its fourth largest by area, has announced plans to develop blockchain infrastructure for organizing the region’s land and revenue records. The state government aims to migrate its entire land registry and revenue database to a blockchain-based record keeping system.
Uttar Pradesh’s recently appointed Chief Secretary Anup Chandra Pandey has instructed officials under his purview to pursue the creation of the new blockchain system over the course of the next six months.
The majority of Uttar Pradesh’s population relies on agriculture, hence a robust blockchain architecture there could make land registration and title transfers transparent, easy, and trustless. The state’s existing paper-intensive system is cumbersome and bureaucratic, even archaic in many places, and has historically encouraged fits of forgery, corruption, and breaches.
State-Level Indian Governments Increasingly Flirting with Blockchain
A handful of states across India have been making similar moves as of late.
In February 2018, the Indian state of Maharashtra announced a blockchain pilot program pertaining to use cases in supply-chain financing, farm insurance, land records, and motor vehicle registrations. This May, the state of Andhra Pradesh also declared its own DLT pilot focused on potential uses in the education field and in the locale’s road transport authority.
As far as Uttar Pradesh goes, initial reporting suggests the assigned government department will submit its first technical proposal within a matter of days to the state’s Information Technology Ministry. To accelerate and ensure this process, local officials have sought help from their partner university, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
In these aforementioned states, the focus around DLT has strongly pivoted toward potential applications for empowerment. The idea is for any change made to regional blockchain registry records being available to the government and the general public.
Unfavorable Atmosphere for DLT Development
India’s states may be riding the blockchain wave, but regulatory uncertainties are putting the country generally behind the curve. A recent report suggested that more than 80 percent of Indian blockchain developers may have to source jobs abroad, as the Indian government has failed to develop a clear regulatory framework for the ecosystem.
Nitin Sharma, founder of blockchain startup Incrypt, said of such a dynamic:
“Blockchain projects are creating new job categories, leading to hiring more fullstack, front-end and back-end engineers globally. At a time when IT services industry is losing jobs, India needs to move fast in putting in place appropriate regulations to manage risks and attract global investment in blockchain.”
The Indian government needs to foster a supportive environment for the industry if it wants to attract domestic DLT development, bring foreign investment to the sector, and avoid falling behind the progress of the other nations of the world.
Doubt and uncertainty lingers for now, though, as India’s Supreme Court has postponed its final decision on the Reserve Bank of India’s crackdown on bank’s facilitating crypto commerce in the nation until September 11th, 2018.
Will other Indian states embrace distributed ledger technology? Share your views in the comments section.
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