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Indian gov consults UIDAI on Aadhaar biometrics for voter registration

Indian gov consults UIDAI on Aadhaar biometrics for voter registration

India’s Ministry of Law is consulting with the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) for the possibility of using the Aadhaar biometrics-based digital ID to register and authenticate voters.

The Indian Express writes that the proposal follows a similar move in 2019 in which the Electoral Commission (EC) had proposed amendments to the Representative of the People Act 1950, and the Aadhaar Act 2016, to make it possible for the elections organ to use Aadhaar national digital ID and biometric data to clean its voters register.

This fresh move, the Express reports, will allow for citizens to download the digital elector’s photo identity card or voter slips under section 3 of the Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance rules 2020.

The rule allows for biometric authentication using Aadhaar for purposes related to the furtherance of good governance, preventing the misuse of public funds, enhancing the living conditions of residents, as well as ensuring access to better services, per the report.

The Express notes that should UIDAI and the Law Ministry come to a compromise on this move, the EC could go ahead with the process even without the proposed amendments to the Representation of the People and the Aadhaar Acts.

The report recalls that among its proposals in 2019, the EC had asked about the possibility for the Electoral Registration Officer to use Aadhaar to either establish a potential voter’s identity or to use it for the expunging of duplicate entries. The EC has also considered the possibility of using Aadhaar biometrics to authenticate people for remote voting.

India is also currently working on a legislative framework that will empower UIDAI to deactivate the Aadhaar numbers of deceased holders.

Biometric system for rural elections in Bihar State

Meanwhile, the State Electoral Commission in Bihar (SEC) says it plans to introduce a biometric voting system for Panchayat (rural) elections in some districts of the State, reports Hindustan Times.

The report cites the SEC as saying everything has been put in place for the implementation of the system and a proposal to that effect has been sent to the council of officials in charge of the Panchayat for approval.

An estimated INR280 million (approximately US$3.8 million) will be spent on the project which will reportedly be implemented by a public company — the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL).

The system will see biometric devices and authentication machines installed in all voting booths during the polls. Fingerprint biometrics and photographs would be collected from all voters. The SEC believes the system will tackle certain irregularities which voters and candidates alike have often complained about in past elections.

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