Traffic of people, cars and motorbikes in the street of New Delhi, India

India’s New Delhi deploys blockchain to streamline criminal investigation process

City officials of India’s capital New Delhi have announced the use of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) in criminal investigations, which experts are calling a pioneering move.

New Delhi’s government deployed blockchain in its Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ensure that evidence obtained from crime scenes is stored using distributed ledgers to prevent interference, the Times of India reported. Officials cite the inherent transparency of DLT as a major reason for pivoting operations to the technology. They noted that the benefits of immutability would foster citizens’ trust in New Delhi’s law enforcement agencies.

The use of DLT in New Delhi’s crime investigations would be implemented in four stages, beginning with collecting samples and ending with the dispatch. An official noted that each stage of the process is fragmented and made tamper-proof to prevent a breach of official protocol.

“To make a change at any stage, one cannot alter the existing record, and a new block will have to be created and a new QR code will be generated. If there is any attempt to tamper with the record, immediate alerts will go to all authorised persons,” an FSL official said.

“The timestamps and encrypted data in blockchain will ensure that each block is added sequentially to a chain,” another FSL official said.

New Delhi’s Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar hailed the move saying that it would improve the productivity of crime investigators in the city while ensuring a high level of objectivity in the cases. Investigators at the FSL receive around 1,500 crime samples each month, a number that investigators have had to grapple with using traditional methods.

The DLT offering will be extended to other states interested in making the leap, but officials say that they will have to upgrade the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS). In the coming months, there is speculation that the technology could be used in storing certificate data from afforestation records.

India is marching on with DLT adoption

India has expressed a keen desire to be a world leader in DLT adoption in the coming years. The same sentiment has been expressed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she revealed that the country expects a 46% adoption rate for DLT adoption.

The country’s leading public policy think tank NITI Aayog recently struck a collaboration with 5ire and Network Capital to establish a DLT module for interested citizens. The partnership is designed to “deepen the talent pool” for DLT-based firms in India, but despite the moves, service providers are still groaning under the weight of a stern tax policy.

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