Can the new technologies such as blockchain be used for giving land titles to the poor? Discuss the potential of Blockchain towards better land governance and land reforms in India.

A blockchain is an online ledger that uses data structure to simplify transaction and allows users to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the help of a third party.
Blockchain can be used for giving land titles to poor due to following factors

  • Blockchain will allow the government to maintain a public ledger of asset-ownership in a distributed fashion without requiring intermediaries.
  • Blockchain technology can be used to confer a unique cryptographic identifier to each land based on its geographic coordinates, ownership, and purpose of usage.

Advantages of using Blockchain technology in land governance and reforms

  • It is decentralized thus erroneous data can be corrected and stores data in a nearly incorruptible form thus data cannot be manipulated which is a risk even in storage of data in digital form
  • With a trustworthy asset ownership system, millions of people will move out of the anonymous mass of citizens and become individuals with property interests
  • People who use goods and services and don’t pay for them will be identified and charged interest penalties
  • Contract violations will be easily traced and legal infractions can be more easily prosecuted.
  • Blockchain has the potential to end large-scale property-related litigation due to lack of authentic data.
  • It will free the assets of the poorest Indians to create capital and enter the formal economy.
  • It will also ease land leasing in rural areas leading to effective land utilization.

Challenges:

  • Technology in itself is new and government may lack expertise in working with it.
  • Recognizing the present owners of the lands is a huge task in itself.
  • The Registration Act, 1908 that allows only ‘presumptive’ ownership also needs to be amended.

 Blockchain technology needs to be combined with other institutional and legal reforms, to clearly offer a feasible solution. 

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