Indian federal and state government link biometrics and Aadhaar accounts to more services
Biometric authentication of farmers in India can help states increase transparency in produce procurement and improve the prices farmers receive by eliminating middlemen, according to a government announcement reported by The Hindu.
Uttar Pradesh recently began enrolling farmer’s biometrics, Food Minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference, and the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha will begin the process this year.
Farmers in India have been protesting against legislative changes that they say will make it harder to get a fair price for their produce, and seeking a legal guarantee that crops will be purchased at the minimum support price.
The federal government has been working towards delivering online payments to farmers who sell to the government, and the state governments of Haryana and Punjab have been instructed to establish digital payments, with the rest following later in the year.
Through biometric authentication, the procurement system will also gain access to a range of farmers’ data, such as what kind of crops they are selling. In addition to reducing payment leakages, the new system is expected to significantly reduce the amount of paperwork involved in the procurement process, and allow payments to be delivered within 72 hours.
Goyal did not answer a question on whether biometric authentication would be mandatory for farmers, according to The Hindu.
Online driver’s license portal to require Aadhaar authentication
Drivers in India will have to use Aadhaar for biometric or one-time password authentication in order to use the Road Transport Ministry’s online service portal for license renewal and other processes, local outlet CNBC-TV18 reports.
The Ministry portal provides 16 different contactless services, including vehicle ownership transfers and residential address changes, and while residents of India can use the services without Aadhaar authentication, they must do so in person.
The change is being made to reduce incidents of fake identity documents being used and to prevent people from obtaining multiple driver’s licenses.
Digital locker to store identity documents launched for passport applications
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has announced the launch of a digital wallet or ‘digilocker’ for passport services, enabling applications or renewals to completed without exchanging physical identity documents, the New Indian Express reports.
The digital locker can store the user’s Aadhaar card, driving license, voter ID card, PAN verification record and birth certificate, as well as insurance information and personal electricity and telephone bills in an effort to enable paperless service delivery.
India is also working towards the rollout of biometric passports, Muraleedharan said, which will help air travel passengers move through e-gates.
Punjab links Aadhaar to State social benefits
Punjab State’s department for Social Security and Women and Child Development has begun a program to link Aadhaar with its system for delivering financial assistance to disabled people and children to enable fast and transparent biometric identity verification for receiving benefits.
Department Minister Aruna Chaudhary said individuals without an Aadhaar number should get one.
Chaudhary also said that for children five years of age and older who have had their biometrics enrolled in the Aadhaar system, one of a range of documents should be produced.
In the case of fingerprint authentication failure iris or face biometrics should be used, and if the beneficiary’s identity cannot be confirmed with biometrics, Aadhaar’s one-time password system should be used to perform a limited-time validation.
Chaudhary emphasized that no child will be denied benefits due to identity verification failures.