On June 30, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) signed a statement of intent to collaborate with Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GNFC) on a blockchain solution to manage fertilizer subsidies. The two organizations will research and create a proof of concept for an application that would make the fertilizer distribution chain, which is comprised of multiple layers and agencies, more efficient. NITI Aayog and GNFC hope to improve the transparency of the fertilizer subsidy system and make it immune to data leaks.
"With the adoption of blockchain technology, it is expected that distribution will become efficient and subsidy transfer would be automated and in real time," said Dr. Rajiv Gupta, managing director of GNFC, according to The Hindu Business Line.
Gupta also expects the application to reduce the time required to distribute subsidies to farmers to three or four weeks. With blockchain technology, multiple points of authorization and document transfer would no longer be necessary, thus improving the overall fertilizer sale and distribution process.
Using insights and data from the proof of concept, NITI Aayog can recommend policies that bolster the fertilizer subsidy system.
The next phase of the project will be to integrate it with the Soil Health Card, a government initiative to improve agricultural practices and better manage soil. The integration will be helpful in advising farmers on which types of fertilizer to use based on the quality of their lands' soil.
As previously reported, NITI Aayog is pursuing other blockchain solutions across various sectors. As a policy think tank of the Indian government, the organization wants "to take advantage of the ability of a blockchain system to provide more affordable and efficient means of auditing and transaction verification." One recent example is the organization's proof of concept to combat counterfeit drug sales, announced in April.
Apart from NITI Aayog, the Indian government has explored several blockchain use cases. Last month, the South Indian state of Kerala announced an initiative to improve supply chain management of certain foods using blockchain technology. The Maharashtra state signed a memorandum of understanding in February with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to collaborate on projects to promote FinTech innovation, including blockchain. Further, in January, India's Maharashtra state announced its use of blockchain technology to store governmental data across departments.