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Two Indian states plan to move government-related data to blockchain

THE Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are looking to move government data to blockchains within a few months.

Blockchain technology is most widely known for being at the heart of the crypto currency bitcoin. But it is essentially a distributed database that is secure by design as data is kept in `blocks’ that cannot be tampered with.

The state governments of Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, have also started evaluating the technology’s potential for e-governance, but Telangana has already started a pilot in the capital Hyderabad.

It is using blockchain technology for land registration in partnership with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and will roll the program out across the city and surrounding areas within 6 to 12 months.

“Simply put, it’s going to be an open platform where anyone can see who holds the land and since it’s encrypted, people wouldn’t be able to tamper with the data,” E Magesh, director of C-DAC, Hyderabad, told the Economic Times. “It brings in more transparency and the integrity of the information is maintained.”

Andhra Pradesh has already launched pilots to adopt blockchain technology in its civil supplies and land records departments and has pledged to start moving departmental data onto blockchain in earnest in the next 8 to 12 months.

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“The civil supplies department handles data on subsidies, etc., that a common citizen depends on, while the land registration department holds land records, which can often be targeted by scamsters,” JA Chowdary, IT adviser to chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, told ET.

Moves to set up an R&D centre focussed on cryptocurrency and associated technologies are also underway in Andhra Pradesh, Chowdary said, with the government holding discussions with the RC Bose Centre for Cryptology and Security of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, as well as Microsoft India.