India’s foremost policy institute and think tank is exploring blockchain applications in a number of sectors including education, health and agriculture.
The National Institute of Transforming India (NT), the government’s primary policy-making body, is eyeing the use of blockchain technology with work toward a proof-of-concept (PoC) to trial the decentralized technology across a number of sectors.
According to the Economic Times, the PoC will be put to use in a number of areas including education, healthcare and agriculture that are identified as ‘key sectors’ according to one senior government official. “It is a safe system for document verification” in those pre-approved sectors, the official added, hinting at a sweeping and wider implementation of the technology across the public domain.
The think tank’s foray into researching blockchain applications comes after its recently concluded hackathon where ‘AgroChain’, a blockchain-based marketplace connecting farmers and consumers for ‘cooperative contractual farming’ won the top honor.
Over the past week, India’s finance ministry likened cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to ponzi schemes while India’s foremost financial official refused to recognize bitcoin as legal tender in the country. However, India’s government has been more embracive, even bullish, on adopting blockchain technology.
The most significant endorsement comes from the research arm of India’s central bank a year ago. Blockchain technology had “matured enough”, the authority said, to become the core driving infrastructure in creating a digitized version of India’s fiat currency, the rupee.
India’s securities markets regulator is also researching the technology while the central bank’s research arm pressed ahead to launch a blockchain platform for multiple banking applications, last year.
In February 2017, government-owned State Bank of India (SBI), the largest bank in the country, launched ‘BankChain’ – the country’s first financial blockchain consortium comprising of private and public banks as well as technology companies to develop blockchain solutions in the financial industry. The SBI launched two blockchain production-ready solutions in beta last month with rollouts for smart contracts and a ‘know your customer’ platform.
Meanwhile, the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh unveiled a new partnership with a technology partner to launch blockchain pilot projects in “various departments within the state government. The state government is, significantly, planning to store the citizen data of some 84 million people on a blockchain. More recently, the government also commenced work on developing a blockchain for land registration in the state as a means to curb fraud.
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