Ananth Padmanabhan
Ananth Padmanabhan was a fellow at Carnegie India, based in New Delhi. His primary research focus is technology, regulation, and public policy, and the intersection of these three fields within the Indian context.
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A policy cannot be made while being divorced from the socio-economic reality of the demography. In the absence of cent percent literacy amongst the population let alone digital literacy, broadband penetration, access to smart phones and computers by a majority of the population of the country, the entire process for land registration cannot only be performed on a blockchain platform. There needs to exist a dual system, that is, an option to use the online services but the age-old process of going through the paper documents submission at the government office to avail of any service should be done away with in a phased manner. Those who wish to avail the benefits of a quicker, more efficient system can do so directly through blockchain. The land agents and brokers, who exist in the current system as well, can take up the role of service providers of registry using blockchain to those who find it difficult to adapt to the new technology. These agents can be regulated via guidelines and mandatory registrations to protect the interests of the poor. Literacy and more so digital literacy will catch up with time, and until then these makeshift measures need to be adopted. However, a cost to benefit analysis seems to suggest that its overall benefit will accrue to the country in plethora of ways as highlighted throughout the paper. A final decision on the mode of implementation of the transition on a national scale can be taken based on the report of findings of the pilot project.

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This article was originally published by the India Institute.