Thursday, March 30, 2023

2.2 lakh certificates enabled by facial authentication for Central Government pensioners

Photo has been used for representation purpose only.

Photo has been used for representation purpose only.

Union Personnel Minister Jitendra Singh on Monday said that around 25 lakh central government pensioners have received digital life certificates under a special drive. Of these, 2.2 lakh certificates were enabled by facial authentication.

A special campaign was launched for 20 days to encourage pensioners to avail this facility.

The minister insisted at a press conference that “harmless data” was collected for the limited purpose of verifying pensioners.

The certificates are issued within 60 seconds by logging into an app and linked to Aadhaar.

when asked by Hindu Regarding the security of data related to senior citizens, Saurabh Garg, chief executive officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said, “As far as authentication is concerned, it is specified in the Aadhaar Act that we can keep the data secure. Huh. Six months for cases of verification and disputes. We don’t store any data.”

“The data is harmless. It is only to ensure that the person to whom the pension is being given exists,” said Dr Singh.

Mr. Garg said that the facial technology was developed in-house in 2021 as a response to the issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During Covid-19 there were requests for touchless authentication as till now only fingerprint and iris scan were used which required physical touch with the machines. The facial authentication technology was developed indigenously in Bengaluru using Artificial Intelligence. We do seven crore authentications a day, but facial authentication has increased manifold in the last few months. Out of 70 lakh authentication done for pensioners, 65 lakh were biometric [iris and fingerprint], It is convenient and can be done at home through a smartphone,” Mr Garg said.

Dr. Singh said that submission of life certificate is an important activity to be done by the pensioners to ensure the continuity of their pension. He said that in the traditional way pensioners had to appear before the Pension Disbursing Authority to submit the certificate, for which long queues had to be formed in the banks. “It was found to be inconvenient for the old, sick and infirm pensioners and besides, there was no mechanism for the pensioners to get the updated status of their life certificates in the records of the pension disbursing authority,” the minister said.

Secretary, Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) V. Srinivas said that to enhance the ‘Ease of Living’ for Central Government pensioners, the department is promoting Digital Life Certificate. Yes, life proof, comprehensively. He said, initially, submission of life certificate using biometrics was started and after that, the department added 50 registered pensioners associations in different cities to promote digital life certificate.


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