Governments across globe are exploring and experimenting blockchain usage on multiple governance issues. In India, state such as Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, have started evaluating the technology for purposes of e-governance, and in this Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are leading the race with both looking to move government data to blockchains within a few months.

In a latest development in adopting blockchain in India, a $5 million blockchain project has been commissioned by central cybersecurity agency of India. Notably, this is the first attempt in India to design and develop a blockchain platform for e-governance and to integrate the various applications in it.

National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) has engaged Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) to develop an indigenous blockchain architecture -- amounting $5 million (₹34.4 Crore ) -- to be used in e-governance. The project has been commissioned by the Office of the NCSC and noted cybersecurity expert Gulshan Rai is currently holding the post of the National Cyber Security Coordinator.

IIT-K professors Manindra Agrawal and Sandeep Shukla of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering are the principal investigators, who would work in collaboration with IIT Madras professor Shweta Agrawal on the project.

Additionally, a company would be incubated at IIT Kanpur to transfer the technology into the product.

Generally, blockchain is defined as a distributed ledger that maintains a continually growing list of publicly accessible records cryptographically secured from tampering and revision. It is believed to create a persistent, immutable, and ever-growing public ledger that can be updated (i.e., by appending information using cryptographic digital signatures) to represent the latest state of a blockchain. It was originally used to record historical transactions of encrypted digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

For transparent e-governance, blockchain is now being adopted by quite a few countries including Estonia, UAE, Australia and UK. Estonia is often cited as a shining example of forward-thinking blockchain development, particularly in the sphere of government. In 2016, Estonia successfully implemented blockchain-powered e-voting in one of its stock exchange.

The above news was first reported in Business Standard.

Blockchain Adoption in India

Last October, Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the India to pilot blockchain technology in two departments - land records and transport. The state launched pilot projects based on blockchain technology for land records and transport.

Few days back, New York-based blockchain startup Consensys, which is founded by Joseph Lubin, who is the co-founder of the Ethereum, has signed a nonbinding agreement with Niti Aayog, a govt. of India's policy think tank, to make blockchain prototypes across healthcare, education, land registry, supply chain, and more.

In this month only, Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA) of Kerala state-run Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management has become the first Indian Institution to get membership of Hyperledger Project, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

Also, India’s first blockchain-based network went live last week, when three online bill-discounting exchange platforms came together and implemented a solution for their operations to deter fraud, in this month only.

Last year, we covered a story on how the blockchain is invading financial institutions like banks and electronic voting systems in several countries, including India.

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