The Southern Indian state of Telangana plans to establish the country’s ostensibly first blockchain district, local newspaper The Hindu Business Line reported on May 27.
The planned district will reportedly aim to establish an ecosystem for blockchain startups and research institutes. While it will seek to attract a host of different blockchain projects, the initiative reportedly has a particular focus on those working to develop blockchain applications for the banking sector, financial services and insurance, pharma and healthcare, logistics and supply chain management and solutions for government sectors.
According to The Hindu Business Line, the main strategy to establish the district will be to offer substantial concessions and benefits, including tax relief, state-sponsored cloud storage subsidies and financial grants.
These will include relief from the state’s component of India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) for a period of three years, a 75% subsidy in travel expenses when project founders attend global conferences and a 25% reimbursement of internet costs. In addition, projects can expect to receive a one-time grant of ₹10 lakh ($14,400).
An unnamed senior level State IT Ministry official is cited by the The Hindu Business Line as saying that “for mega Blockchain projects, separate packages will be devised.”
The blockchain district policy — released in draft form last week and likely to be cleared after India’s forthcoming cabinet expansion — will also aim to establish a co-working space, an international liaison office, an incubator for early-stage blockchain start-ups, a regulatory sandbox and an R&D institute in Telangana, the report notes.
Plans for the district were first greenlighted in an agreement with Indian multinational IT provider Tech Mahindra last year, the report adds. The policy will also aim to devise blockchain courses in cooperation with the Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge and top figures in the blockchain space.
As reported last year, the state of Telangana previously signed several memoranda of understanding with blockchain firms with the view of implementing the technology in state applications.
In parallel, the status and future of cryptocurrencies in India remains highly complex, prompting several major domestic exchanges to shutter services due to regulatory pressure.