Property fraud is rampant in India and takes many forms. It’s one of the biggest avenues for investing black money. One way is to hold property in other people’s names, and this practice is called benami, which means ‘false name.’
In this murky scene, the government does not only lose revenue, but buyers can also be duped when the same property is sold to multiple entities. What exacerbates it is rampant corruption. The Indian government introduced a new law and have seized benami properties worth $282 million since November last year.
Sprawled across 160,000 sq km on the east coast with a population of over 50 million, the state of Andhra Pradesh
wants to use blockchain
technology to tackle the problem. Blockchain’s immutability can make land records tamper-proof. Its visibility to multiple entities also makes the system transparent.
The state is running a pilot by Swedish startup ChromaWay to put land records on a blockchain
in fintech hub Vizag.
Doing a pilot is one thing, but executing it on the ground can upset the apple cart even within government. So, does Nara Lokesh, the state’s IT minister, expect resistance from vested interests who have gotten used to exploiting the current system?
“We have already given up a lot of our black boxes. Land records have been made online,” Lokesh tells Tech in Asia, referring to the ePragati program launched recently in the state to digitize government services.
The next move for e-governance is blockchain, starting with land records but with potential applications in several other areas like health services, food supplies, and finance. “We will lead this transformation. That’s the only way we can get rid of corruption also,” adds Lokesh.
This is an excerpt of the article published on Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.