Building Better India: Powered by Blockchain

Building Better India: Powered by Blockchain

Swarup Roy Chowdhury, Suman Saha
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3444-1.ch007
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We can name many industries that are still based on the same working practices and business models that they have had for a long time – maybe since they started. Despite the wealth of modern technology now available, public infrastructure, a critical component for the well-being of the society, is still an industry based on the paperwork, letters, emails, manual approvals, and a large amount of guess work. It involves a lot of manual effort and is also error prone. It is really very hard for the stakeholders and end users to get an update on the progress of the project, which impacts them directly or indirectly. The authors intend to develop a groundbreaking blockchain platform that can meet the needs of all the different stakeholders involved in creating and providing a better infrastructure. They plan to automate the entire process by using smart contracts to minimize paperwork for the government officials. This will not only eliminate the errors that can happen during manual execution but will also provide a real-time update to all the stakeholders in making the process more transparent.
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Blockchain technology (BCT) has gained popularity because of it’s wider acceptance in the recent past as the technology has developed platforms for various applications in almost all areas (Okada et al., 2017; Lemieux, 2017; Xu, 2017; Glaser, 2017). Some of the most important features of the open blockchain technology include - global nature and scope, decentralized and distributed character, built-in transparency and independence of trusted parties. These features are particularly important in countries vulnerable to corruption and in which there is a general distrust in government on the part of citizens and businesses. However, as our use cases show, most countries can benefit from the global reach and openness that the open blockchain technology offers.

The specific aim of this chapter is to discuss how and in what ways the blockchain technology can be used as an infrastructure for specific areas in government (Xu, 2017; Glaser & Bezzenberger, 2015; Saltzer, 1984). There are many paper contracts written between the governments, brokers, contractors that often won’t be in place until the infrastructure is built. It is based on the experience of the people building this or some historical data that might be there in the government records. The risk can change significantly while an infrastructure like a flyover is being built or as simple as a tarred road is being laid. It may sustain damage due to soil conditions or adverse weather conditions or even due to lack of expertise of the contractor being hired for delivering the project (Lemieux, 2017; Xu, 2017; Lemieux, 2016). We intend to develop a ground-breaking platform using blockchain that can meet the needs of all the different parties involved in creating a better infrastructure for the country. We plan to automate the entire process by using smart contracts to minimize paperwork for government officials (Lindman, 2017; Phillip, 2004; Huckle, 2016).

The core strength of blockchain lies in its ability to connect every party involved in the work and have the data stored in the database which is visible to everyone but is also secured completely (Zyskind et al., 2015). The solution will be applied across the entire infrastructure arena including the end consumers - the citizens of India. The visibility of near real-time data connected directly to smart contracts will also help in decision-making, security, and transparency with third parties such as regulators and auditors who will also be able to view the data stored in the database. Developing the platform requires a connected effort across all facets of the workstream. We want to gain a deep understanding of the practical needs of the community through workshops with everyone involved in the process of building the infrastructure. We had an initial set of design thinking workshop to understand the actual problem. Based on that we have come up with a high-level architecture for this solution to work in an end-to-end fashion. We recommend having a detailed design thinking workshop to get the specific requirements that will help in achieving the right solution (Zhu & Zhou, 2016; Kianmajd et al., 2016).

We also recommend the solution will be built in an iterative agile fashion. Product Owner should be the key player of managing and maintaining the product backlog while being in constant discussion with the users of this platform. This will ensure we have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) going out in the first quarter for the users to try out and provide feedback (Koshy et al., 2014). This approach will help to build the right solution iteratively and fail fast (if at all).

We have organized the chapter in such a way that it provides all the ingredients to implement this solution. Starting with a detailed high-level architecture with deep insights into each of the areas of the architecture is the backbone of the chapter. This is backed by a case study to provide even more insights on how the solution can be achieved on a practical basis. We will end the chapter with a conclusion and scope for future work so that the solution can benefit society.

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