India’s Maharashtra to Test Blockchain for Various Use Cases

The Indian state of Maharashtra, whose center is Mumbai, plans to test blockchain technology for different use cases, according to a top official.

The government of Indian state Maharashtra plans to conduct five or six pilots to assess blockchain technology, with several startups involved in the coming months, a senior official told the Economic Times. They will evaluate the technology for use in land registry, supply chain financing, financial inclusion, car registration, and insurance.

SVR Srinivas, head secretary of the government’s IT department, said:

“We are looking to work with startups to implement blockchain use cases. It will cut down manual processes and duplicate paperwork. It will save us cost, time and bring in transparency.”

Blockchain is viewed by many as an innovative technology for operations with databases and transactions. Last year, Russia announced it would implement it to register data from the Unified State Register of Real Estate, with a focus on the city of Moscow.

Andhra Pradesh is currently testing blockchain for land records as well, being the first Indian state to experiment with the technology. Telangana, Karnataka, and Gujarat are also running pilots involving distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Srinivas expects blockchain to simplify processes. He said:

“We can use blockchain technology in all the processes where one needs to go through past transactions. It will bring down redundant labour, Maharashtra will conduct a study to determine the quantum of investments. The savings will be much more than the investments.”

Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley revealed in Budget 2018 that the government was assessing DLT as a path to building a digital economy.

Interestingly, the Indian government is not very open to the use of cryptocurrencies inside the country. At the beginning of February, the authorities reiterated their position on crypto coins, saying that they are not legal tender. State officials said they would apply “all measures to eliminate” the use of virtual currencies as a means of payment.

Despite regulatory uncertainties, crypto and blockchain-related jobs are growing in India at a fast pace.