The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (IIT-C) are working to create a blockchain system for implementing electoral reforms. The move forms part of the growing trend of government-backed distributed technology (DLT) use cases in the country.
EC and IIT-Chennai Partner on Blockchain Voting System
According to Inc42, the ECI is set to deploy blockchain technology in India’s election process. ECI Commissioner Sunil Arora remarked recently that the Commission in partnership with IIT-Chennai is developing DLT-based protocols to solve the issue of low voter turnout.
Of the approximately 900 million registered voters in the country, more than a third were unable to cast their votes during the 2019 polls. Part of the reason for this problem is that India’s current election laws do not allow voters to exercise their franchise in a location different from their place of registration.
Between 2017 and 2019, rural-urban migration figures rose from 139 million to over 450 million. With such massive internal migration figures, the ECI Commissioner says the time is right for electoral reforms.
The proposed blockchain system will allow registered voters to cast their ballot in any polling center. As part of the plan, the ECI plans to link its voter registration database with the country’s Aadhaar identity card.
Apart from blockchain, the ECI is also eyeing internet of things (IoT) — another emerging technology, in its electoral reform process. According to the EC Commissioner, the country’s electoral body is planning to utilize IoT-based solutions in ensuring the fidelity of future polls.
According to Arora, vehicles transporting sensitive election materials will be equipped with IoT GPS devices to track their movement from polling units to collations.
Indian Government Keen on Increased DLT Utilization
The ECI’s plan to adopt blockchain-based solutions for electoral reforms is only part of a growing appreciation for DLT utilization in India. As previously reported by BTCManager, several government stakeholders and parastatals have called for greater blockchain adoption in the country.
Back in January, the country’s IT Minister highlighted the need to boost blockchain adoption in India’s primary education sector. In November 2019, reports emerged that India was moving towards the creation of a national blockchain technology framework.
Despite the appreciation for the potential of blockchain technology, cryptos remain a sticking point for government agencies in India. Earlier in February, the Tamil Nadu Police became the latest to issue a cryptocurrency warning with its Economic Offences Wing (EOW) advising residents not to get involved in virtual currency transactions.