For a country like India, blockchain offers unique possibilities of addressing issues relating to improving both governance & private sector challenges. Let's explore what's happening on the ground.
Blockchain has emerged as the new technology that can transform government and private sector operations.
Underlining the importance of blockchain technology, many international organizations and technology companies have been highlighting the benefits of its application in reducing costs of operation and compliance, as well as in improving efficiencies.
For a country like India, which is the second most populated nation globally after China, blockchain can offer unique possibilities of addressing issues relating to improving governance.
On the business front, by allowing self-regulation, India can considerably move towards improving the “Ease of Doing Business” by allowing entities to interact through a trusted medium and reduces its dependency on cumbersome regulatory and compliance rules.
Let’s explore some industries and sectors where blockchain technology is bringing substantial benefits.
Banking & financial services
Million of Indian are working and staying abroad and send billions of dollars home through remittances. They have to spend millions of dollar as remittance charges and fees. To tap this potential, many blockchain projects like Ripple, Stellar, Telcoin and others are working to send the money within seconds or minutes with a fraction of commission cost.
Even in India, many private banks like Yes Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank have adopted blockchain technology for this purpose. Even the government-owned largest bank, state Bank of India (SBI) has partnered with JPMorgan to use its blockchain technology to speed up overseas transactions.
Governance is also another important area where blockchain has been used. NITI Ayog along with Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) has implemented blockchain technology for fertilizer subsidy management. Fertilizer subsidy is the second-largest component of India’s subsidy program with a total budgeted outlay of $10.2 billion during the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Land records & registry
In a big country like India, corruption is rampant, and lots of frauds occur in land registry and records. To overcome this, states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana has announced the implement blockchain technology for preventing tampering of land records. Land records in most Indian states date back to the colonial era, and most land holdings have uncertain ownership.
Healthcare is another area where India has been looking to implement this budding new blockchain technology. Currently, India runs the world’s largest healthcare initiative with over 500 million beneficiaries, to whom 119 million e-cards have been issued so far and over 8 million hospital admissions have been recorded.
To streamline the process and avoid fraud, the government is mulling to use blockchain technology that has been developed by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Madras.
The researchers have developed BlockTrack, a first-of-its-kind blockchain-based secure medical data and information exchange system for a mobile phone-based application, which is currently being field-tested at the institute’s hospital.
Blockchain can radically transform the agricultural sector in India by revamping the utility of the electronically connected National Agriculture Market (eNAM) by creating an audit trail of all farmer produce and removing the mistrust between farmers and farm traders.
Blockchain applications can be used to explore certification of the provenance of organic produce, thus increasing marketability to foreign markets, according to the NITI Ayog report.
The state government of Maharashtra has said that it would use the blockchain technology for streamlining agriculture marketing, supply chains, vehicle registration and document management system.
Two Indian institutes have been using blockchain technology for a few years now. Kerala-based educational institute, Saintgits Group of Institutions has implemented a blockchain-based scholarship processing programme for its students with the help of startup Sernez.io, a peer-to-peer lending platform facilitating educational loans.
Another institute based in West Bengal State, Globsyn Business School (GBS) is using blockchain to issue digital diplomas to the post-graduate students of its management programs. The school has partnered with Mumbai-based Zeonlab to develop its certification management service. By using this platform, students can gain access to their certificates digitally. The certificates can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
According to a report by Deloitte, an Indian conglomerate has designed a cloud-based application to transform supplier -to-manufacturer trade finance transactions through a permissioned distributed ledger. A lighting equipment manufacturer in India experimented with blockchain to reduce the cycle time of Bill Discounting process for paying its suppliers from five days to almost real-time.
Apart from this, blockchain also empowers millions around the world to self-bank by taking self-custody of their money. This is particularly attractive to people who still don't have access to bank accounts or financial institutions. For this Klever has been developing various products and projects powered by blockchain technology that are solving this problem for the masses who are still unbanked.
Blockchain has the potential to fundamentally change countless industries throughout India at an unprecedented speed. With increased research and development comes adoption, which is a reality that is unfolding before our very eyes.