The government is preparing an approach paper on National Level Blockchain Framework for wider deployment of blockchain, IT Minister of State Sanjay Dhotre informed the Lok Sabha on November 27. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is looking at application of blockchain in governance, banking and finance, and cyber security. MeitY has already taken action to integrate blockchain with e-Sign.

Dhotre also informed the lower house that MeitY is supporting a multi-institutional project, “Distributed Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology”. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and VJTI are its executing agencies.

What has the Distributed Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology done? Thus far, Dhotre wrote, it has:

  • Carried out research on blockchain technology in various domains and developed proof-of-concept (PoC) solutions. These include:
    • Property registration using blockchain is being piloted in Shamshabad District, Telangana. (The state of Telangana had released a draft blockchain policy in March 2019.)
    • Cloud security assurance, C-KYC and trade finance
  • Developed Proof-of-Existence (PoE) Framework to enable PoE for digital artifacts, used to check the integrity of academic certificates, sale deed documents, MoU, etc.
  • Blockchain has been used and PoC developed for vehicle life cycle management and hotel registry management.

Government’s stance on blockchain

The Indian government has largely been receptive of blockchain technology, but has opposed one of its applications — cryptocurrencies.

  • In July 2019, the Finance Ministry had proposed a legislation that sought to ban cryptocurrencies in India. The inter-ministerial committee that had proposed the bill recommended that the use of blockchain (distributed ledger technology) should be promoted in the financial system. It had recommended that MeitY consider a blockchain system for a low-cost KYC system.
  • In September 2019, the Finance Ministry’s FinTech report took cognisance of how blockchain has been and could be deployed for cross-border payments, settlement of securities, smart contracts and trade finance amongst other uses.