Looking at the massive changes that new technologies can bring to the governance of the state, Tamil Nadu state has become the first state to announce its own Blockchain Technology.
Tamil Nadu announces its own Blockchain technology policy
In a policy paper, Tamil Nadu said that this huge role in e-Governance in the near future. It will benefit the residents of the state by delivering better and more secure governance and efficient service delivery.
Taking a note of nations including Estonia, Georgia and Singapore that have introduced Blockchain Technology in governance, the paper said that governments can play an important role as a regulator as well as a consumer of Blockchain technology.
The paper also pointed out that several state governments have carried out proof of concept implementations in areas like land registration, healthcare and digital identity and looking at this, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has announced the creation of Tamil Nadu State-wide Blockchain Backbone for delivering secure and efficient services to the people of Tamil Nadu.
The state government believes that this technology will enable them to enhance the quality of the services provide to citizens as well as bring in more efficiency and transparency to Government processes, the policy paper said.
Blockchain in e-Governance
As a network technology that promises interoperability, transparency and immutability Blockchain has numerous end-benefit for governments. It can be harnessed for providing accountable and efficient governance to our citizens.
During the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) ‘Connect 2020’ conference, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K. Palaniswami said that the new Blockchain technology will take the Government to the Citizens, thus eliminating the need for the citizens to request G2C (government to citizen) services.
Goals of Blockchain Technology
Provide faster, efficient, secure and transparent delivery of services to the people of the state by building new e-Governance Blockchain applications and to augment existing governance workflows and processes.
To create a thriving ecosystem including Blockchain entrepreneurs, community development and to promote and encourage mass adoption and implementation of the technology in the state of Tamil Nadu across government and industries.
On whom the policy is applicable
Partnerships and joint venture companies the state. Or any authority or body established or constituted under any central or state law or any organizational body such as cooperatives, trusts, societies, public sector undertakings and boards, whose composition and administration is controlled by the government of Tamil Nadu.
Blockchain Backbone infrastructure
Blockchain Backbone would be used by the State of Tamil Nadu for reimagining governance and for encouraging adoption within the State. The infrastructure would work in a BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) mode and the seed nodes of the network (Initial nodes) shall be created and hosted by Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA).
This infrastructure would be a hybrid Blockchain platform hosted in state data centres, or on cloud or on-premise and would include participation from multiple stakeholders. It would be leveraged for building better G2G (Government to Government) and G2C (Government to Citizen) work flows and applications that will improve the lives of the residents of Tamil Nadu.
Use case selection, prioritization
For Blockchain technology to be successfully adopted, the state has decided to select and prioritize the use cases for implementation in the areas of governance where it will have a significant positive impact.
Initially, it will be used in securing academic records, certificates, degrees and diplomas and providing a secure and trusted workflow for verification of these records by authorities and other stakeholders; creating a portable digital identity and implementing privacy protection for residents of Tamil Nadu; securing state government websites and portals from cyber security threats and unauthorized modifications; securing land registration transactions and enabling cross-departmental workflows for land mutation; tracking agriculture produce and increasing profitability for farmers; and creating a secure healthcare platform that caters to all the residents.
Adoption of Blockchain Technology
The state will set up a forum for Blockchain ecosystem development to promote collaborations between industry, start-ups and academia and build a mature ecosystem.
Under this, the state will provide a cross-industry platform for leveraging Blockchain technology by connecting start-ups and Blockchain practitioners with different industry verticals and government departments.
App development platform
An app development platform will also be build with pluggable business modules that can be installed or removed on a node depending on the requirements of the business use case. Developers can access these modules and the underlying Blockchain layer through API gateways.
TNeGA will develop and distribute Software Development Kit (SDK) for the API gateways that can be used for app development. This modular approach and SDKs will allow government departments to work with multiple start-ups and enterprises.
The policy recommends that the government should provision for a semi-regulated sandbox environment for building e-Governance applications using Blockchain. Projects should be on boarded to the regulatory sandbox Blockchain in cohorts with fixed number of participants
A protocol and standards committee would be setup to create and enforce security, architecture, coding and smart contract standards and SOPs for deploying and operating government Blockchain applications and applications deployed to the Blockchain Backbone.