Indian gov’t launches biometric employee attendance system

The Indian government is making its employee attendance records available online. Using the Aadhaar system, employee attendance data will be tracked in real-time and made publicly visible via an online portal.

The portal is currently providing a graphical representation of government attendance numbers for nearly 50,000 registered employees in 150 government organizations. Attendance is tracked through the use of a new biometric attendance system that makes use of the government’s Aadhaar system.

Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric database, is governed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and is currently used to authenticate delivery of social services including school attendance, natural gas subsidies to India’s rural poor, and direct wage payments to bank accounts.

The new Indian government under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to maintain the system early in its mandate and accelerate resident registration. The government, in its first budget allocated $340 million to continue with the Aadhaar registration process.The government’s objective is now to enroll 100 million more residents with Aadhaar. UIDAI has already enrolled about 700 million people and issued unique identification numbers to 650 million.

The new government has a strong “value for money” philosophy and therefore wants to reduce its employee truancy. As a consequence, the government decided to expand its employee tracking using the Aadhaar system. Reportedly, the system was extremely inexpensive, only costing less than US$500,000 to develop.

Currently, the government portal is in test mode and only tracks government employees in New Delhi by way of a digital dashboard that monitors employee login and logout times. But if the system is deemed a success during testing, expect it to expand throughout the country.

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