On July 26th, the Indian state of Telangana announced initiatives to leverage blockchain to mitigate the pervasive corruption and fraudulent activity embedded in state and national governments. The news comes one month after the state began implementation of blockchain solutions to increase transparency in the government’s land registry and revenue departments. This is in direct response to the estimated 38% of land transactions that involve some degree of bribery.
Telangana’s IT and Industries Secretary, Jayesh Ranjan, stated the following:
“We are planning to implement Blockchain Technologies in six or seven government applications. We will be signing MoUs with a few companies in the upcoming International Blockchain Congress to be held next month.”
The three-day Blockchain Congress will take place on August 3rd in the state’s capital city of Hyderabad, and hopes to stimulate economic output by attracting blockchain entrepreneurs to the already burgeoning IT hub.
In addition, Ripple recently donated $50 million to 17 universities around the world, of which The International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad was one of only two Indian schools included on this list. Their selection runs parallel with the Hyderabad’s general confidence in blockchain tech.
Telangana to the Rescue?
Telangana has positioned itself as the harbinger for blockchain innovation in India. However, this is in stark contrast to India’s national government, which is vehemently opposed to anything crypto and blockchain. This firm stance likely stems from the Indian government’s seemingly corrupt and fraudulent nature.
Here are a few statistics which highlight the scope of the problem:
- The Association for Democratic Reforms states that 31% of parliament members are involved in criminal cases.
- Fraudulent government actors siphon up to 50% of government subsidies for the poor.
- 64% of police officers accept bribes, and 60% of all road stops for truckers are for extorting money.
- The Global Corruption Perception Index ranks India as the 81st most corrupt country in the world (out of 180).
- 60% of citizens who received drivers licenses did so without ever taking a driving test.
Blockchain’s inherent trustlessness unlocks data transparency in a way no other technology can. Therefore, it’s no surprise that governments around the world, such as Switzerland, are incorporating blockchain solutions to optimize government activity.
Can Telangana’s blockchain efforts affect national government operations? Only time will tell. But if these initiatives demonstrate optimization and increased transparency, it would be difficult for India’s anti-corruption Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to remain opposed.