India’s National Blockchain Strategy

Strategies and Action Plans

Author: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of the Government of India has formulated a comprehensive national strategy to harness the potential of Blockchain technology. This strategy aims to create a robust, transparent, and secure digital ecosystem that can transform various sectors, including health, agriculture, education, and finance. The strategic plan is designed to be implemented over the next five years, targeting key outcomes that will establish India as a global leader in Blockchain technology. Here, we outline the primary strategies and expected outcomes of this national initiative.

1. National Blockchain Framework (NBF)

  • Objective: To effectively utilise Blockchain technology in different domains such as health, agriculture, education, and finance.
  • Infrastructure: Develop a geographically distributed national-level shared infrastructure to support large-scale citizen services and enable cross-domain application development.
  • Approach: Implement a multi-institutional collaborative approach involving government, academia, industry, and R&D labs. This collaboration is essential for developing a comprehensive framework that can serve various application domains.

2. Geographically Distributed Nodes

  • Hosting: The National Blockchain Framework will be hosted on nodes distributed across different geographical locations in the country. This distribution ensures resilience, scalability, and accessibility.
  • Onboarding: Entities such as industries, startups, and government organisations interested in participating in the NBF must undergo rigorous security audits and assessments by empanelled agencies. This step is crucial to maintaining the security and integrity of the national Blockchain infrastructure.

3. Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS)

  • Implementation: The NBF will facilitate the development and large-scale hosting of Blockchain applications in various sectors. Examples include agriculture supply chain management, electronic health records, educational certificate verification, and pharmaceutical supply chain management.
  • Service Provision: The infrastructure will be utilised to provide Blockchain-as-a-Service, enabling various stakeholders to leverage Blockchain technology without the need for significant initial investments in infrastructure.

4. Collaborative Efforts

  • National Blockchain Framework Development: The development of the NBF is proposed as a collaborative effort involving diverse stakeholders from government bodies, premier academic and research institutions, startups, and industry players. This inclusive approach aims to foster innovation and accelerate the adoption of Blockchain technology.
  • Support for Startups and Innovators: Collaboration with startups and innovators will be facilitated through grand challenges and other initiatives that encourage the development of new and innovative Blockchain applications.

5. Initial Application Domains

  • E-Governance: Initially, the NBF will focus on applications within the e-governance domain to provide transparent, efficient, and secure government services to citizens.
  • Expansion: Following successful implementations in e-governance, the framework will be expanded to incorporate various use cases beyond this domain. The government will define policies and guidelines to ensure that applications comply with necessary regulations before being onboarded onto the framework.

6. Research and Development (R&D) for Blockchain Challenges

  • Focus Areas: MeitY will initiate research projects to address advanced challenges in Blockchain technology, such as standards and interoperability, scalability and performance, consensus mechanisms, security and privacy, secure smart contracts, and vulnerability detection.
  • Collaborative Research: These research efforts will involve collaboration among government, academia, and industry to develop solutions that meet national requirements.

7. Awareness Creation

  • Workshops and Training: MeitY will organise awareness workshops to sensitise MSMEs and government departments about the benefits and applications of Blockchain technology. These initiatives aim to boost adoption and foster the development of innovative use cases.

8. Policies and Regulations

  • Regulatory Framework: As the NBF evolves, existing regulations and policies will be updated to accommodate new insights and experiences gained during implementation. MeitY will collaborate with other ministries to formulate specific regulations and policies necessary for the framework’s successful deployment.

9. Human Resource Development in Blockchain

  • Training Programs: The government, in association with NASSCOM, has initiated the Future Skills Prime program to upskill and reskill individuals in emerging technologies, including Blockchain. This initiative includes training programs for government officials, trainers, and other stakeholders to build a competent talent pool.

10. Implementation Strategy

  • Execution Model: A centralised planning and decentralised execution model will be adopted to ensure effective implementation of the national Blockchain strategy. This approach allows for flexibility and responsiveness to regional and sector-specific needs.

11. Adoption Incentives

  • Incentive Schemes: Both central and state governments will formulate schemes and guidelines detailing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to promote large-scale adoption of Blockchain technology. Special incentives may be provided for sandbox environments to encourage experimentation and innovation.

12. Institutional Mechanism

  • Governance Structure: An institutional mechanism within MeitY, along with a collaborative framework involving other ministries, departments, and states, will be established. This structure will oversee the standardisation, governance, and process development for various application domains.
  • Advisory and Steering Committees: A Blockchain Advisory Council and a Steering Committee will be constituted to provide policy guidance and monitor the implementation of the national Blockchain strategy.

The National Blockchain Strategy aims to position India as a global leader in Blockchain technology by fostering innovation, collaboration, and the development of a robust digital ecosystem. By addressing key challenges and leveraging the collective efforts of various stakeholders, the strategy seeks to unlock the full potential of Blockchain technology for the benefit of citizens, businesses, and the government.