Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Blockchain technology: An ice breaker for migrant workers

By Ashamary Alexander*
The word Blockathon was quite naïve to me when I first heard it during my internship at CPPR (Centre for Public Policy Research). Prodding on the topic online, I found out that it was a hackathon wherein the blockchain technology was to be used to solve the problems faced by interstate migrant labourers in our country.
The Blockathon challenge was put forth by CPPR with the support of the US Consulate, Chennai in association with Maker Village and Startup Mission. To be part of something so huge itself was a privilege to me. The talks by learned people like Dr. Patrick (CPPR), Ms. Alexis Wolff (US Consulate), Mr. K. Muhammed Y. Safirulla (District Collector) and Mr. DilipKrishnaswami (IBM Research Lab head) were highly informative and helped me understand the underlying technology and its unique, fool-proof nature, effectiveness in handling data and solving many of the existing problems. The technology can be used to eliminate middlemen; which means that once it comes into use, all transactions will be transparent and reliable with no room for tampering. 
Coming from an engineering background and currently pursuing studies in urban development, I was very happy to learn about this state-of-the-art technology that can be utilized to solve the problems faced by Urban India, like the issues faced by the migrant labourers. The varied ideas that the teams came up with for solving the issues like the identity of the labourers and their financial issues helped me understand the use of blockchain technology in a broader sense. It was interesting to know that if the technology is used in fields like real estate transactions and for transferring funds for big-budget projects, we would be able to track where every rupee is being spent, eliminating the possibility of any misuse of the money. 
I am glad that I could be part of this event, and better understand the technologies available to leverage. Personally, I feel that more such events can lead to innovative ideas that can bring about positive changes in the society that will help in the overall development of our country. In India, we have around 1 million engineers graduating every year but, as a nation, we are not able to find adept solutions for the multitude of problems we face. It is possible only by bridging the knowledge gap between those who are learned of the issues and those who have the technical expertise to find technology-driven solutions. Therefore it is imperative that societies come forward with such events aimed at reducing this gap.

Kudos to the organisers and partners for the success of the event!

*This blog is written by Ashamary Alexander Interning at CPPR and Pursuing Masters in Urban Development And Management. Views expressed by the author is personal and does not represent that of CPPR


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