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Why Blockchain Technology is the need of the hour for Land Management

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By Dr Gopala Krishna Behara, Distinguished Staff &Lead Enterprise Architect, Wipro Technologies

Blockchain is a digital, distributed and decentralized network to store information in a tamper proof form with an automated way to enforce trust among different participants. An open distributed ledger can record all transactions between different parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. It captures, manipulates and builds consensus among participants in the network.

Each Block is uniquely connected to the previous blocks via a digital signature which means that making a change to a record without disturbing the previous records in the chain is not possible, thus rendering the information tamper-proof.

The various areas where Blockchain technology can be used in Government are:Land Registration, Digital Identity, Property Records, Schemes Management, Agriculture Management and Electronic Health Records etc.
Trends of Blockchain Usage in Governments

According to Transparency and Market Research, the Blockchain Market Revenue will reach 20 Billion USD by 2024. The use and adoption of Blockchain technology is expanding at a rapid pace, all over the world, and it seems that Government is the most widely used domain as of now.

Recently, Dubai announced that they would put 100% of their records pertaining to land registry on Blockchain. Dubai Land Department (DLD), in fact, has claimed to be the first such Govt. department anywhere in the world, to adopt Blockchain for such high-level task.

Republic of Georgia declared that they would use Blockchain technology to validate property-related government transactions.

Countries like Sweden, Honduras and others are also developing such similar Blockchain based systems, for enabling secured e-Governance.

In India, Andhra Pradesh State has become the first state in the India to pilot Blockchain Technology in two departments and plans to deploy it across the administration.

Land Management : Current State of Land Management

Land Management is the registration/management of all land deeds undertaken in any geographical location of a governing authority. Today, various government departments and local bodies maintain these records. The registration of land records does not authenticate ‘land title’, sometimes leads to title disputes and Litigation.

In one of the surveys, it was estimated that 70% of the Land Owners are vulnerable to manipulation by individuals or mediators with stakes who challenge the validity of their ownership.There are huge number of examples across India where land been grabbed by forging records.

Of late, there is an increase in complaints of irregularities and corruption in updating of land records. Huge number of citizens either waiting eagerly for corrections in their land records and passbooks for the issuance of passbooks.

In today’s scenario, the Seller and Buyer meet at the registration office, share the physical documents in the presence of Registrar, and completes the land registration. Most of the transaction happens through the exchange and verification of physical copies.

Today the major issues with the land registration in India are:
Unclear Land titles, leading to huge GDP lost
• Duplicate Land records
• Land records are maintained in silos, updating and verifying the records is a challenge
• Poor recording keeping, most of the time stakeholders dealing with inaccurate data
• Multiple Land Web Portals and no of them provide single source of truth

All the above facts demand the Government to develop a secured, tamper proof, paperless and long lasting online solution to manage land registration and land records as early as possible. Only solution for this is, implementation of Blockchain technology based Land Management Solution.

Future Land Management Solution

Blockchain technology helps to establish trust, transparency and accuracy in maintaining land records and building a robust Land Management System. Implementation of Blockchain in Land records provides the following features:
• Integrity
• Transparency
• Eliminate Intermediaries
• Speed
• Eliminate documentation work
• Minimize Fraud

The Blockchain enable Land Management System is a public ledger spread over a distributed network that records every transaction associated with a land property in an autonomous and efficient manner.

In addition, the Blockchain technology establishes:

Tamper Proof Land Records: Land Records are secure tamper-proof and immutable. This reduces the scope of forgery or manipulation

Unified Registration System: Single digital platform removes the bureaucratic silos and helps in driving greater efficiency and reducing inaccuracies/forgeries.

Transparent Registration Process: Automate the process of registration using smart contracts Dis-intermediating people that are vulnerable to falling prey to corrupt practices.

Blockchain works by validating transactions through a distributed network in order to create a permanent, verified and unalterable ledger of information. The following diagram shows the end-to-end flow of the Blockchain based Land Registration Process.

Benefits of Blockchain Technology in Land Management System
One of the major benefit of usage of Blockchain is the reduction of the cost of storing the physical records about any land property. This helps in saving the time and promote the transparency.

• Greater transparency, transaction histories are becoming more transparent through the use of Blockchain technology

• Enhanced security, there are several ways Blockchain is more secure than other record-keeping systems

• Elimination of error handling through real-time tracking of transactions with no double spending

• Improved traceability

• Trusted record keeping and shared trusted process

• Increased efficiency and speed, reduction of settlement time to mere seconds by removing intermediaries

• Reduce cost and complexity, Material cost reduction through the elimina¬tion of expensive proprietary infrastructure

• Full automation of transactional processes, from payment through settlement

Other Blockchain Usecases in Smart Government
In Smart government, linking the data between various departments with Blockchain ensures that the data realization in real time, when both the departments and the citizen agree on sharing data. Blockchain technology could improve transparency and check corruption in governments worldwide. The other use-cases covering government applications such as election, finance, Town planning, Revenue, Education etc explained below,

Citizens can cast votes the same way they initiate other secure transactions and validate that their votes were cast—or even verify the election results. Potential solutions are currently working to blend secure digital identity management, anonymous vote-casting, individualized ballot processes, and ballot casting confirmation verifiable by the voter. Potential cost savings through Blockchain-enabled voting.

Online identity has always been a time-consuming and costly process. There was always this need for registration and financial services like loans, mortgages, insurance requires always required a higher level of security, checking, authentication and authorization. This usually meant that checking official government identity documents was a required step.

One of the benefits of the Blockchain is that it has the potential to cut out the intermediaries and provide every organization/department in the network access to the same source of the right information. Blockchain technologies make tracking and managing digital identities both secure and efficient, resulting in seamless sign-on and reduced fraud. Users are able to choose how they identify themselves and with whom their identity is shared.

Town Planning
Having property records on the Blockchain makes it possible that prospective buyers shall verify the owner of a house quickly and easily.

Seamless cross-referencing of documentations across multiple government entities. All documentations automatically verified by the relevant entities. The inherent features of Blockchain (digital identity) enables it not possible to make changes to the ledger.

An Integrated Blockchain Solution that enables seamless customer on boarding with automated Disbursements of Loans and Grants. Transactions on the Ledger are auditable real time providing greater transparency for Regulators. Highly Secured Digital Signatures that makes sure the transactions are execute only when relevant provide their signature

Agriculture Management System with a Blockchain infrastructure ensures immutability of data and a way to trace historical agricultural data as agricultural products move from production sources to the consumer. IAMS with a block chain infrastructure is a way to diversify current agricultural management practices in a way that engages the public through ownership of the agricultural production process. Other possible applications include the use of Blockchain technology to record and manage agricultural land records as well as agriculture insurance.

Digitization of health records is a significant task in the public health sector, which is huge, complex and associated with ethical issues. Medical records are scattered and erroneous, with inconsistent data handling processes. Sometimes, hospitals and clinics forced to work with incorrect or incomplete patient records. Blockchain technology can disrupt public health by creating a secure and flexible ecosystem for exchanging patient’s electronic health records. This technology could also make the space more transparent by creating basis for critical drugs, blood, organs, etc. In addition, by putting all medical licenses on a Blockchain, fraudulent medical practitioners, druggists, chemists be prevented from practicing and selling drugs.

Student records, faculty records, educational certificates, etc., are key assets in the education domain and are be shared with multiple stakeholders and it is imperative to ensure that they are trustworthy. Maintain all these records with the application of Blockchain technology. Blockchain can also simplify certificate attestation and verification.

Blockchain based smart government applications increases the effectiveness of government, reduces cost of transactions and more quickly means of interaction between the government and the citizen.

Lot of exploration is needed today in e-governance space is, who will take the lead in applying Blockchain technology across Government departments, how to cut government costs, improve security in an era of cyber uncertainty, and enhance citizen delivery.

View Blockchain as a unique and a universal technology that helps streamline and automate nearly all citizen services, legal contracts, while increasing the transparency and effectiveness of government.

So, let us establish corruption free, transparent society.

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