January 7, 2013 -
The Indian Department of Fisheries has started distributing biometric smart cards to fishermen in Goa. These new smart cards have been issued by the Union ministry of agriculture, department of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, the Times of India reports.
The central government has awarded the contract for the biometric smart cards to an unnamed company in Kerala which has so far created 3,600 cards. According to the Times report, the department has collected and submitted the biographical and biometric information of about 10,000 members of the fishing community in Goa.
These smart cards contain a digital photograph and fingerprint as well as basic biographical information, accessible with a smart card reader. The data for these cards will be kept in state and central servers, so government organizations can access information remotely.
Smart card identification aims to maintain security at sea and will also help members of the fishing community in Goa to receive state benefits, as well as to prove their identity in India. As this is a nationally-recognized identity card, ensuring only the right people are included in this program is a crucial consideration. Only credentials of the Goan community of fishermen were collected, as the identification of migrant labourers has been difficult to establish.
Migrant workers are issued temporary identification cards valid until June each year, as workers often don’t return after going to their native states during the monsoon season.
A recent BiometricUpdate.com research note suggests a systematic approach is needed to implement eID programs, as demand for these technologies has increased, but so too have challenges in issuance, usability and accuracy.