The south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh in India is one example of a region leveraging blockchain in groundbreaking fashion to benefit the built environment. It has become the first state in India to adopt blockchain for governance and is piloting the technology through a number of projects, including management of land records.
The value of blockchain for India is significant. Property-related disputes account for an overwhelming two-thirds of all Indian civil legal cases. Property ownership and acquisition frequently stall even the most well-resourced projects, often leading to violence and death, with large-scale corruption and inefficiency in India’s land markets attributed to reducing the country’s GDP by 1.3 per cent every year.
Andhra Pradesh decided to use the impenetrable nature of blockchain to protect the state’s assets, property and transactions, by preventing interference from outsiders or fraudulent government officials. And just how is this being done?
Managing land records
Andhra Pradesh has partnered with Indian blockchain start-up Zebi Data to secure and record more than 100,000 land records, and is working with Swedish blockchain start-up ChromaWay to agree land registry solutions.
Andhra Pradesh has also partnered with Covalent Fund to create an India-focused blockchain stack named Velugu Core, that makes government data (including land records) freely and digitally available, which developers can use to build apps. Individuals or companies wishing to buy a particular property can access this data through an app built using the blockchain stack to access public information on the property’s previous ownership and transaction details, thereby reducing disputes of ownership.
Building a City
Similarly, blockchain is being used to build Andhra Pradesh’s capital city Amaravati. More than 24,000 farmers from 22 villages are selling their land to the government to create the city, and the entire documentation process for the massive sales exercise is based on blockchain.
The decentralised distributed ledger system is creating foolproof digitised land registries of the residential and commercial plots allotted to farmers. Records are generated and sent automatically to the registration office, captured in a multitude of local languages, ensuring full security without any duplicate registrations. Data is logged with the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) and can be traced back at any given point of time so security of title is always maintained.
CRDA sent officials to villages to educate sceptical farmers about the system, who have been pleasantly surprised to learn firsthand how simple and straightforward the fully automated process is, ranging from allocating plots to registration and storing the data.
While these projects are still in their infancy, the possibilities and benefits they are anticipated to bring to Andhra Pradesh’s economy are endless – and just the beginning. In the future, linking blockchain in a building’s design, operation and IoT will truly unlock the value of what Andhra Pradesh has started.
Andhra Pradesh’s commitment to blockchain is part of the country’s national push to lead in tech transformation and blockchain adoption.
Unlike other countries, in India, governments are promoting innovation rather than the private sector, incentivising startups to collaborate directly with government and leverage public resources.
Other states are following Andhra Pradesh’s lead with four more states recently announcing support for blockchain in similar use cases as part of a bid to bring more transparency to governance.
Andhra Pradesh plans to eventually implement blockchain across the entire administration.
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