April 27, 2015 -
The majority of biometric devices that were installed by India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development Department to maintain an accurate headcount of residents in children’s homes throughout Maharashtra have experienced a slew of technical glitches, according to a report by The Indian Express.
The biometric machines, which were proposed four years ago, are said to be either non-functional or malfunctioning.
The machines have not been installed in 100 of the 969 children’s homes selected to participate in the program, while the biometric devices in the other 869 homes are not functioning properly.
The Indian government said it will be analyzing the situation soon, while the children’s homes operated by NGOs could also be called on to install the biometric machines.
There are currently over 70,000 children housed in the 1,105 child care centers throughout Maharashtra, including adoption agencies, observation homes and shelter homes.
“The main purpose of these machines was to ensure there is no discrepancy in total number of children at each of these centers,” said a senior official of the WCD Department. “However, with machines not functioning properly, the entire objective of the plan has fallen flat.”
The government decided to install the biometric devices after it discovered that some agencies would bring in outside children during inspections in order to qualify for financial aid.
WCD officials will meet on May 13 to discuss the situation and implement a resolution. Additionally, the state government is ready to collect the biometric records of children in all NGO-operated orphanages.
“The objective is to ensure that grants disbursed by the government reaches actual beneficiaries,” said the official.
Minister of State for women Vidya Thakur said the state does not have any records of the number of children in NGO-run orphanages and government-run ones.
In November, the state began issuing Aadhaar cards for children of these homes. Currently, 1010 of the 1473 children in observation homes have Aadhaar cards, while nearly 41,164 children of the 70,000-odd children in other children’s homes have their Aadhaar cards.
Previously reported, the Indian government made it mandatory for all children below six years to be enrolled in the Aadhaar biometric identification system, along with using its online system to track children from birth.