Blockchain to make land registry more reliable in India

Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made are recorded chronologically and publicly. Now a days when people talk about Blockchain, the first thing comes to our mind is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as it was linked to it first, but it is a technology that can enrich the lives of billions of people, in many ways.

Land is one of the most controversial and litigatious subjects in India. Across India, it is estimated that $700 million is being paid in bribes at land registrars. Blockchain can enable the land registry to be more reliable in India as the current land registry system is rife with corruption and inefficiencies. Blockchain will have a huge impact in the developing countries, helping uplift the poor and marginalised, aid in fighting corruption.

During the 2014, Kashmir floods and the 2013, Uttarakhand Flash floods, many organizations and Government did their best to rebuild, but many obstacles and problems kept cropping up. There were many plots of land where the rightful owner could not be identified, and in many instances ownerships were in dispute. This issue have had a big impact on recovery efforts and the construction projects have stalled, till the ownership issue is resolved. In many cities of developing countries land registry faces a lot of problems and many citizens are unsure about the land, sale deed and land related documents.

Such issues and problems arise due to the lack of a proper system to maintain land records and provide persons with conclusive titles results in frequent and long drawn legal conflicts. With Blockchain, there is a chance to fix many of these problems. Blockchain has multiple benefits such as an immutable history of transactional records, so no one can ever doubt the authenticity; records are permanently linked to the system so no one can ever tamper with or forge a record of their own; and these records can be seen by any party, at any time. It is powerful and validating. Blockchain is decentralized which makes it difficult to for the system to crash or get hacked. Blockchain is the next disruptive technology and the demand for transparent transactions, it is a game changer. Blockchain technology also underpins ‘smart contracts’, which are programmable contracts that self-execute when certain conditions are met, and offer the possibility that transactions could complete much more quickly when combined with a blockchain registry.

The beauty of Blockchain is that citizens engaged in buying and selling property will neither experience a change in the way they currently interact with the land registry nor require any blockchain accounts or wallets will they. The blockchain is a powerfully technology working quietly in the background. Blockchain would enable to gain the confidence in the government and make the overall customer experience less cumbersome. Most importantly it will ensure authenticity of land records and enhance data security.

As per CNBC report, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has partnered with ChromaWay a Swedish start-up to build its blockchain-based solution. In Sweden, ChromaWay has already piloted a blockchain project focused on the process of buying and selling real-estate. This time it wants to combine the features of a traditional land registry database with that of blockchain technology under their platform called the "Postchain".

J. A. Chowdary, special chief secretary & IT advisor to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, said, "The current system is rife with corruption" and added "Fraud is rampant and disputes over titles often end up in court. Matters related to land and property make up about two-thirds of all civil cases in the country" in a mail to CNBC.

The Indian government has renewed its interest in digitizing land records through the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP), the implementation of a distributed ledger first to digitize existing land records and set the precedent for future transactions ensures a legitimate, government-approved record of transactions.

Originally used as the technology to underpin Bitcoin, blockchain technology is increasingly being seen as applicable for a whole range of industries.

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