Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin could be the next big thing in India for land deals and banking services. Two states — Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — are testing the blockchain technology for land deals. Not just states, even largest lender the State Bank of India is looking to explore the blockchain technology for banking solutions by December.
The blockchain is a technology in which transactions made in digital currencies are recorded chronologically and publicly. Blockchain can be used for a wide variety of applications, such as tracking ownership or the provenance of documents, digital assets, physical assets or even voting rights.
Now the idea behind exploring blockchain for land-deals stem from the fact that they are rife with corruption. “The current system is rife with corruption,” J. A. Chowdary, special chief secretary & IT advisor to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, told CNBC in an email recently. “Fraud is rampant and disputes over titles often end up in court. Matters related to land and property make up about two-thirds of all civil cases in the country,” he added.
By incorporating the blockchain technology, the governments are hoping to make land deals transparent and easy. “We are keen and trying out blockchain technology to bring transparency in land registration. By using blockchain we have embarked upon pilots in our state for a strong foolproof security cover,” Principal Secretary (Information Technology Telangana) Jayesh Ranjan said. He said that entire records purification exercise in the state will be completed by the end of the next month.
A national land record modernisation program, which was launched in 2008 to survey lands, update records and establish ownership, has been delayed by torn maps and disputes dating back decades. With Blockchain, the would be real-time updates.
But there are apprehensions over using this technology fully in India. “There cannot be a complete switch to a blockchain platform, as millions are still not literate and lack access to smartphones and computers,” Ananth Padmanabhan, a fellow at thinktank Carnegie India told Reuters.
“There needs to exist a dual system, that is, an option to use the online services but also the old process of paper documents submission at the government office,” he said.