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Public sector biometrics use expands in Pakistan with pension, charity schemes

Public sector biometrics use expands in Pakistan with pension, charity schemes
 

A biometric system to facilitate identity verification of pension earners in Pakistan is now operational, reports the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

Inaugurated recently by President Arif Alvi, the system is not only expected to enhance identity verification of beneficiaries, but will also help eliminate fraud with biometric deduplication cleaning and streamlining the database, according to the report.

The biometric technology will also be used as an audit system to ensure the transparent disbursement of the pension payments. Pakistan has around 1.4 million pensioners with the government said to be spending Rs 60 billion (about US$336.8 million) a month on the pensioners, according to the APP.

The novelty also means that aged pension earners in the country will not have to go through the inconvenient process of submitting life certificates to pension offices yearly or making physical appearances to show proof of life.

The report notes that the President equally disclosed plans to introduce other systems such as retina and face biometrics for pensioners who cannot be verified because they have lost their fingerprints due to aging, sickness, disability, or hard labor.

He also restated plans by the government to institute digital voting in the country’s upcoming polls, especially for citizens living overseas.

The Auditor General of Pakistan and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) are the brainchildren behind the biometric identification system for pensioners.

Distribution of charity tax using biometrics

A top official of the Pakistani province of Sindh has suggested that a biometric system may soon be in place for the distribution of Zakat, a charity tax that is levied on wealthy Muslim Pakistanis, proceeds from which are channeled to poorer citizens.

As reports The Express Tribune, the idea, according to Sindh Chief Minister’s Adviser on Religious Affairs, Zakat and Ushr Fayyaz Ali Butt, is to enhance transparency around the Zakat distribution process and make sure that only deserving citizens benefit from the scheme.

The official made the disclosure during a recent meeting.

Authorities is Pakistan said recently that they were also working on a process to avoid further exclusion of beneficiaries from cash support programs in the country as a result of biometric failures at points of service.

Digital ID verification campaign for voters

The first phase of a door-to-door digital ID verification and authentication exercise for voters, which began a month ago, ended at the start of this December in Pakistan, writes Urdu Point.

Ahead of the exercise, the electoral district commissioner of Rawalpindi district had urged citizens to accord maximum cooperation to election commission officials, as the next phase of the process is slated to kick off on January 26, 2022. The district is said to have 5.4 million residents with 3.4 million of them registered voters, per the report.

Electoral officials say a total of 52 assistant registration officers, 585 supervisors and 1,882 verification officers make up the door-to-door ID verification and authentication teams, according to Urdu Point.

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