The Maharashtra government is in the process of implementing a system for authentication of government -issued caste certificates through a blockchain system. The system, which will be implemented in the Maoism -affected Gadchiroli district, will allow a 10 -second quick verification that will eliminate duplication or forgery of caste certificates. This will also help protect tribal rights, government officials said.
The project is the first in the country and is considered important as Gadchiroli is one of the most backward districts in Maharashtra with a tribal population of around 70 per cent. Once the project is implemented, any third party, such as employers, educational institutions, government agencies, the judiciary and so on, can verify the authenticity of the caste certificate. Officials say the use of the blockchain will protect the privacy of all data without exposing it to the internet. The process, he said, would involve simply scanning a QR code.
Furthermore, blockchain implementation ensures citizen immunity from any kind of ‘de-platformation’ in the future. In other words, if information is stored on a blockchain, no one can delete caste records.
As a first step, the project will be started in the Etapalli subdivision of the district which includes the villages of Etapalli and Bhamragad. The area has a large tribal population that requires caste certification to access various government subsidies and benefits.
Now, the country is issuing digitally signed caste certificates to its citizens through the ‘MahaOnline’ portal. However, for convenience, the majority of the population has a caste certificate as a paper printout. But this makes it impossible for the authenticity of the digital sign.
The proposed blockchain system will create the important details of each caste certificate in blocks cryptographically and generate a unique QR code that includes the block evidence placed on each caste certificate.
Next, an open verification system available on government websites will allow the department concerned (or other third parties) to verify the authenticity of the certificate.
The Etapalli-sub-division office, headed by Assistant Collector Shubham Gupta, will begin opening 65,000 caste certificate data through a blockchain system. Over the next month, all caste certificate data will be fed to a blockchain system to generate a blockchain -enabled caste certificate with a unique QR code.
The certificate will be issued to citizens through a public service center (CSC) that is already functional in the sub-division. Once launched, with the click of a button, the system will show on the screen whether the caste certificate is genuine along with some important details related to the caste to ensure that it is issued to the same person. Once the system is ready, it will prevent miscreants and anti-social elements from misusing caste certificates to benefit from the benefits meant for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, officials said.
ujare Gupta The Indian Express, “The government is also conducting a special drive where we will issue certificates to SC and ST in order to benefit from the government scheme.” During the election, people who participated in the election abused the use of caste certificates for personal gain. Some people create fake caste certificates to get government jobs, or get accepted into educational institutions or benefit from other government schemes.
LegitDoc – the company that activates this system – has helped the Maharashtra government use the blockchain system to issue education certificates in the past.
Neil Martis, Founder of LegitDoc said, “This is definitely going to be a revolutionary priority that will be pursued not only by other Indian states, but also global governments.”
The website will allow anyone to contact and verify sample certificates.