A new Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Blockchain Technology, which will strive to adapt emerging technology to create e-governance solutions, was inaugurated by Union Minister for Law and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in the city on Saturday.

He inaugurated the centre digitally from New Delhi, after change in schedule due to last-minute issues. The CoE by National Informatics Centre (NIC) is the third such centre, following CoE for Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

The Minister commended NIC as the “backbone of digital governance in India” and said he was particularly optimistic about applications of blockchain technology in primary education. He appealed to NIC to explore the potential of the new technology in improving the quality of government schools across the country.

Mr. Prasad defended NIC over criticism and feedback from the top bureaucrats of the State at the event. T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, Chief Secretary of the State, said there was a need to fasten the response by NIC to help cater to changing needs. The processes need to be made simpler, he said. Mr. Prasad responded during his address and said NIC need not be “nimble” and listed out its achievements.

Mr. Vijay Bhaskar also said NIC usually straight-jacketed its software solutions across the country and argued for customisation to suit the needs of the State. “The websites are available only in a few languages. These portals need to be available in all Indian languages,” he said.

Gopalakrishnan S, Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, said the websites would be available in multiple languages and the department was working on text to speech function to be made available in multiple languages.

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