44 key areas, a national framework, and a multi-institutional approach — Here's what you need to know about India's new National Blockchain Strategy
National Blockchain Strategycomes from India’s Electronics Ministry even as the Finance Ministryis formulating a plan to regulate cryptocurrencies.
- Blockchain is the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies.
- The government says that blockchains can be used in 44 key areas.
AdvertisementLast week, on December 3, the Indian government published a National Blockchain Strategy (NSB) with recommendations for policy making and implementation of blockchain technology in the country. The 52-page document comes at a time when the country’s Finance Ministry is formulating a bill that will regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies in the country.
The NSB, however, lays the framework for companies that are developing apps, services and more based on blockchain technology — the underlying platform running cryptocurrencies.
Here are four key points that highlight the approach India wants to take towards blockchain technology:
The Indian government wants to apply blockchain technology to 44 key areas
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has identified 44 key areas where blockchains can be employed. These sectors include pharmaceutical supply chain, e-Notary services, blockchain enabled e-sign solutions, farm insurance, identity management, e-voting, maintaining land records, document validation and more.
The document also notes some government-led applications of blockchain are already underway. In June, publicly listed company Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) had partnered with the country’s planning commission — NITI Aayog — to build a proof-of-concept (PoC) for applying blockchain technology for fertiliser subsidy management.
Other government bodies, like the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and more are also working on blockchain-based applications.
India wants to set up a ‘National Blockchain Framework’
The document also proposes the formation of a National Blockchain Framework, which will be used to speed up application of the technology in the country. The NSB says that a “geographically distributed national-level shared infrastructure" would be required in order to enable large scale adoption of blockchains, which is the purpose that the framework will serve.
The framework will help in the creation of reference implementations of platforms and integration with existing infrastructure and services. “This National Blockchain Framework (NBF) with core research components would be developed with intermediate milestones consisting of a basic framework for reference implementation, integration with various existing infrastructure and services, reference implementations of real-life projects and sandbox environments for development and testing of applications,” the document stated
A 'multi-institutional' approach with industry-academic-government collaborationIndia’s NSB also calls for collaboration between the industry, academic institutions and government in order to create the National Blockchain Framework and other applications. It says that creation of the framework will require a “multi-institutional collaborative approach” between all of these parties.
Interoperability with other countries
AdvertisementA notable point in the document is that India is taking into account blockchain implementation strategies already in place in other countries, including China. It also includes countries like the United States (US), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Brazil, Chile, Canada and more.
Taking other countries’ blockchain platforms is important since such platforms are known for interoperability, and experts have often said that governments must work together to ensure future payments platforms, healthcare records etc. are interoperable.
While the MeitY says that it will collaborate with other ministries in order to oversee the implementation of this strategy, the National Blockchain Strategy doesn’t really set timelines for specific platforms or discuss them. It is meant to be a guideline for the industry and other ministries though, but may have instilled more confidence in investors and companies if it was clearer on such points.
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