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India instituting national fingerprint database for criminal ID


India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to set up a national fingerprint database of nearly 28 million criminals and individuals who have been arrested by collecting biometric data from all the states, according to a report by The Economic Times.

The database is intended to help in quickly identifying criminals as well as investigate crimes across India.

Currently, the Central Finger Print Bureau (CPFB) contains over 970,000 fingerprint records of convicted or arrested persons.

Despite this, the central database is not linked to the over 18 million fingerprint records managed by the fingerprint bureaus of states and Union Territories.

To resolve this, the MHA will consolidate these records from the state bureaus by moving them to the national database. The National Informatics Centre is currently developing a cloud solution for this integration.

By integrating all fingerprint data at CPFB, the agency would be able to process fingerprint matching queries in real time from any police force across the country.

Law enforcement agencies currently send fingerprints taken from a scene of crime for the purpose of matching them to their respective state fingerprint bureau, which matches them against their own database.

If no match is found, the fingerprints are sent to the CPFB and fingerprint bureaus of other states.

The system is ultimately flawed because it is both time consuming and completely dependent on the cooperation of other bureaus.

The Western state of Gujarat has the largest database of fingerprints with nearly 12 million records, followed by the southeastern coastal state of Andhra Pradesh with 530,000 records and the central state of Madhya Pradesh with 300,000 records.

The MHA is also considering integrating the fingerprint data with other biometric identifiers, such as facial images, palm prints and iris records, in the future.

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