Last week we had uploaded the first part of this article; you can access it here https://bit.ly/3mQjPv7
Imperative India has a unique strategy for taking on the lead in creating public digital infrastructure and allowing private sector innovation to leverage it for further development. India has completed building a foundation for digital infrastructure over the past decade. Some uniquely Indian models of digital foundational infrastructure are Aadhaar, UPI, e-Sign and Digilocker, along with digitally enabled tax governance networks like GSTN or digitally enabled health coverage such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).
Blockchain is appropriately suited for addressing several challenges in India and will also benefit from the already created infrastructure. Blockchain can enable greater accountability and quality control across supply chains, better contract management and procurement, and decentralise decision-making authority. For instance, Blockchain can radically transform the agricultural sector in India by revamping the utility of e-NAM by creating an audit trail of all farmers producing and removing the mistrust between farmers and arhatiyas (mandi intermediaries).
Thus, with the proven success of Aadhaar and UPI, an inherent advantage is created in pursuing commercial-scale blockchain solutions, while other nations still struggle to find a good proxy for identity and need to ensure the sanctity of crypto assets.
NITI Aayog has pursued PoCs in four areas to assess the potential of blockchain technology in delivering improved efficiency and better understand the possible hurdles in implementation:
1. ‘Track and trace’ of drugs in the pharmaceutical supply chain
2. Claim verification and approval in the disbursement of fertilizer subsidy
3. Verification of university certificates
4. Transfer of land records
There was a valid problem deeply embedded in business rationale. For the fertilizer subsidy pilot undertaken by NITI Aayog, the problem/pain point was reducing the turnaround time for reimbursement of subsidies payments and freight claims. The existing workflow was saddled with inefficiencies, including multiple record systems, limited visibility for inventory stocks and low trust in the data generated for subsidy and freight claims.
Some of the Indian Start-up Companies like Signzy, InstaDApp, KoineArth, Matic Network, WazirX, CoinDCX, MindDeft, Somish, Primechain are working on Blockchain Technology.
Blockchain & Intellectual Property
Blockchain and IP have a dual relationship, where on the one hand, the IP system protects Blockchain, and on the other, Blockchain technology can be utilized to strengthen the IP regime. The reliability, immutability, efficiency, security, and federated features of Blockchain can be used throughout the life cycle of IP rights in registration, licensing, contractual agreements and enforcement.
Digital rights management (DRM) & Smart Contracts
With the advancement of technology, smart contracts can be programmed to perform simple functions. With no manual intervention, these contracts can execute themselves when the required conditions are met. With suo motu authority, Smart Contracts work on automatic mode until the specified conditions are met. With the use of such Smart Contracts, Distributed Ledger (DLT-based) or Blockchain archives can aid and facilitate the licensing of IP rights or other contractual agreements, as they can help in self-monitoring terms along with their real-time payment, due execution, and maintaining immutable proof of their execution etc.
Government Initiatives and Regulations on Blockchain
The Government of India is working towards transforming its economy into a digital economy. The government has undertaken several steps to adapt and enhance the use of the latest technologies. The NITI Aayog provides innovation, critical knowledge and entrepreneurial support to the country and is exploring Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain in various areas such as healthcare, education, electricity distribution, agriculture and land records. It explores a platform called ‘IndiaChain’ (a blockchain-enabled infrastructure) for Indian enterprises and the government. Once implemented, it will be the world’s largest blockchain implementation program in governance.
Further, in June 2018, NITI Aayog has also released a paper on the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence to establish a decentralised data marketplace based on blockchain technology. The State Governments have also shown their eagerness in adopting blockchain technology for digital transformation in their governance. States like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala are experimenting with using distributed ledger technologies for e-governance initiatives.
The apex body for the IT-BPM industry, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), has signed a pact with the blockchain research institute to evangelize the blockchain ecosystem in India.
To safeguard the record-keeping process in the market attached to securities, SEBI directed depositories to use Blockchain Technology since it will help track data and keep a watch on credit ratings of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) and formation of charges on these securities. The new platform will aid in the constant tracking of credit rating of the NCDs by agencies.
While Blockchain technology is still in its early stages, its growth and propagation can help solve many problems faced by IPR-holders ever since the advent of the internet. There are certain deficiencies in Blockchain technology, such as, it relies on huge processing power and can manage only a limited number of transactions per hour, but the biggest strength of this ecosystem is that it is immutable. Once the entry is made, it is practically impossible to tamper or corrupt it, and thus makes it apt for a world that requires greater transparency and accountability. The common use of Blockchain is probably still some way off. However, where there are old-fashioned and ineffective systems in place, Blockchain is being introduced to streamline and simplify the management of Intellectual Property.