Blockchain Technology has been the talk of the town in recent years and is set to disrupt the world with its wide range of applications. The Blockchain is an open infrastructure with blocks of information linked together containing references to the previous block. It is a decentralized and distributed system like a public ledger that stores a registry of assets and transactions in a peer to peer network. At the core of it, Blockchain creates a shared reality across non-trusted entities through an unforgeable, immutable network. The system is held together by a form of technology known as cryptography which is used to ensure that data does not get counterfeited.
In India, this distributed ledger technology is still in its embryonic stage. The state governments in India however, have realized the potential of this technology and are exploring its wide range of applications. One significant application of blockchain is in real estate; Blockchain for Land Records.
India and most countries for that matter lack a strong system of property rights. Land titles are presumptive rather than conclusive. The Bollywood film ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’ gives brilliant insights into the damage done by maladaptive and dysfunctional land titles. That is the reason why a two-third majority of all pending court cases are property related disputes. To address this problem, the Indian government has renewed its interest in digitizing land records through the Digital India Land Records Modernization Program (DILRMP), the implementation of a distributed ledger first to digitize existing land records and set a precedent for future transactions ensuring a legitimate, government-approved record of transactions. The future of property transactions lies in smart contracts, which are automated and don’t require an intermediary assistance.
Rajasthan, one of the leading Indian states to adopt Blockchain technology is set to roll out Blockchain for Land records. Previously having successfully launched EHR (Electronic Health Record) on blockchain with the help of Auxesis group who implemented base blockchain fabric layer in Rajasthan government onboarding over fifty-three million population on its network, it will be of no surprise if Blockchain in Land Records takes off at its launch.
The Rajasthan legislature has already passed the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Act in April 2016. This law ensures that the state government is a guarantor for land titles in Rajasthan, and will provide compensation in case of issues of defective title. The guarantee is based on certification provided by the Urban Land Title Certification Authority, which will verify ownership of any property at a nominal fee. Adding onto it, Blockchain will help deal with the nightmares of dealing with land records by creating immutable digital records of transactions and a permanent audit trail can also be instituted. What this means is that once land records or property transactions are on the blockchain software — governments, banks, agents, buyers and sellers can easily access the chain of data pertaining to that property. This will reduce fraud and ensure that properties cannot be sold thrice over to the same entity. Blockchain solution ensures safety, security, transparency, and non-repudiation of data to residents as well as the government — and therefore paves the way for a way more secure technological paradigm.
Moreover, blockchain technology will ensure and facilitate same day transfer of property titles without bribes and systemic hassles. Currently, such transfers take up to three months. This creates a new regime with enthralled investor trust leaving a net positive impact on the overall economy.
This long-pending need for digitization is due and India will transform into a digitally empowered society, much sooner than the world expects.