Remote voting may be a reality by 2024 when India’s next general elections are scheduled. The claim was made by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday.
Arora said the Election Commission of India is working with IIT-Madras for using blockchain technology to enable app-based e-voting to make the process more convenient during the world’s biggest elections.
“We are doing a project with IIT-Madras, Chennai, and some of the eminent scientists. We are doing a blockchain project. We are very hopeful by the 2024 Lok Sabha elections you will see a lot of fundamental differences in the way we (Election Commission) is working, including this (e-voting),” he added.
Blockchain is a type of database that stores data in blocks that are chained together. Once a block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order. Decentralised blockchain networks, such as those used for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, are accessible to certain members who have the requisite permissions, thus ensuring immediate, shared and completely transparent information. Decentralised blockchains are also immutable, which means that the data entered is irreversible and any tampering will become immediately obvious.
Besides the use of blockchain in payments and cryptocurrencies, the technology’s use has been advocated for storing information regarding tangible assets such as land and education records to ensure against frauds.
In its report titled: “Blockchain: The India Strategy” released last year, the Indian government’s think-tank Niti Aayog advocated the use of blockchain for tracking and tracing drugs in the pharmaceutical supply chain, to improve claim verification and approval in the disbursement of fertiliser subsidies, for verification of university education certificates by recruiters and foreign universities and for management of the land transfer process.
In October last year, Startup India launched a blockchain-based certification verification system, which will enable instant verification and access to certificates of recognition issued by the industry body.
The government said that the new feature introduces an additional layer of security to the startup certificates, which can be accessed by investors, procurement entities, government departments, and stakeholders to verify the status of recognised startups for accessing different opportunities.
Various Indian states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have explored the use of blockchain technology for governance functions.