Indian Fisheries Department begins distributing biometric ID cards to fishermen

December 31, 2012 - 

The Fisheries Department of India has begun the distribution of Biometric Fingerprint Identity Cards (BFICs) to fishermen in the Paradip Port Township, The Pioneer reports.

Paradip Port is one of the major ports of India, serving both the eastern and central parts of the country. Of the 1,715 fishermen in the area, only 250 have received their unique BFICs at a function held in the village, attended by the Director of Fisheries PK Mohan and Commandant of the Coast Guard, Anil Sharma.  According to the article, as many as 21,695 fishermen of 96 villages in the Jagatsinghpur district as well as approximately 18,000 fishermen of the 109 villages in Kendrapada are going to get the new BFICs.

These new BFICs include detailed biographical data as well as photographs and fingerprints of the fishermen, and are being introduced in an attempt to control the influx of Bangladeshi immigrants and illegal activities like smuggling in the sea route.

As reported previously in, the Fisheries Department has recently asked fishermen living along the coast in Bhogapuram and Poosapatirega mandals to submit biometric details for these BFICs. It was also reported that these ID cards were being distributed along with existing security measures and those who didn’t submit credentials to receive a BFIC would be punished, though the extent of that punishment remains unclear.

According to the Pioneer report, the Fisheries Department has previously granted identity cards to fishermen, but the BFIC is a totally unique concept, and a decision about which has been taken by the Union Government.

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