In a new tech move, the Kerala government has decided to use blockchain technology in logistics and supply management of milk, vegetables, and fish within the state. The Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC) is executing the project.
The Kerala government’s launch of the project is part of the Indian government’s cautious advent into the world of blockchain, and it reiterates the Oxford Analytica article ‘India backs blockchain but adoption will be cautious,’ curated for the ongoing Annual Horasis India meeting, which is being held in Malaga, Spain.
K-DISC is the Kerala government’s think-tank and advisory body constituted to plan and execute new directions in technology, product and process innovations, social shaping of technology and creating a healthy and conducive ecosystem for fostering innovations in the State.
K-DISC has also recently launched an initiative to train students in blockchain technology, so that they get an early-mover advantage in the system, which will further facilitate with job-seeking in India and abroad. Kerala also has a program for a smarter and fool-proof crop insurance scheme for better help to farmers suffering crop losses.
For the dairy sector, the project plans to use an electronic ledger for procurement and distribution, which will facilitate faster delivery of high-quality milk, NDTV reported Chairman of K-DISC, K M Abraham. “Each component of the supply network will have a separate ID number, using which the source and quality of the product can be checked at every point of the chain,” he said.
Technology, such as Internet of Things (IoT), RFID Tags, and mobile applications, will be put to use in order to supervise movement of trucks and refrigerated tanks to ensure they function according to fixed parameters, for example the temperature at which products are to be kept.
Abraham also said that blockchain technology in crop insurance would help avoid time-lag when assessing and delivering compensation to farmers suffering losses because of natural calamities. He said the whole process, from issuing applications for coverage to claims settlement will become hassle-free and time-saving.
K-DISC also recently started the Accelerated Blockchain Competency Development (ABCD) project, to help students access job opportunities in India and abroad.
Apart from Kerala, several other states have been adopting blockchain technology. Last year, the West Bengal government disclosed plans to use blockchain as protection against cyber attacks. Similarly, the Maharashtra government too is looking at technology for data protection in different departments.
Andhra Pradesh has been commended in the Oxford Analytica article for taking the lead in use of blockchain technology for creating jobs. This March, in a partnership with blockchain platform, ConsenSys, the Andhra Pradesh government is taking an initiative to encourage blockchain technology in the ecosystem.
The government’s policy making unit, NITI Aayog is also developing a blockchain-based program called IndiaChain to create an identification database and hinder corruption and money laundering.
While the Indian government has banned blockchain-driven cryptocurrencies, it has admitted to wanting to explore blockchain technology as a part of the digital era. Recently, IT giant Infosys launched India Trade Connect, a blockchain-based trade network, in partnership with seven leading Indian banks. According to the Oxford Analytica article, Indians banks are positive on blockchain even though it means bank income from fees will decrease. In the banking sector of India, a product called ClearChain is already in use, which enables KYC (Know Your Customer) sharing and sharing anti-laundering data among banks.
The Oxford Analytica article also states that, among the challenges that India faces regarding progress in blockchain technology, are a shortage of software developers with blockchain technology skills and the slow rate of Internet penetration, especially, in rural areas.