Biometrics is the study of the characteristics that are unique to an individual. These may include physiological characteristics like the color of the eyes, voice, body odor, saliva, fingerprints, and facial characteristics and so on. Another branch of biometrics includes behavioral characteristics that are unique to every individual like writing style, walking style, typing speed etc. These unique traits can be incorporated in a Biometric security program to uniquely identify an individual, helping the government in policy implementation. However, in order to be reliable the program has to pass a battery of litmus test that requires it to be reliable, unique, convenient as well as universally acceptable.
Governments all over the world are increasingly using Biometric tools to improve governance and in crime fighting. In countries like India Biometrics can ensure that the benefits of poverty alienation programs like NREGA reach the targeted constituency. Many times it has been observed that the subsidies are siphoned off by the middle men with very little reaching the poor. That is why the government of India has embarked on a Unique Identification program that will be based on Biometrics.
The proposed plan, proposes to create a database of Individuals, containing very simple biometrics. Experts believe that the unique identification number will solve a host of problems including rigged elections, widespread embezzlements, and the issue of illegal immigrants in India.
The proposed plan will link a persons Passport, Driving License, Pan Card, Bank account, Address and Voter ID. This information will be available at the touch of a button to government agencies, which can check whether the information provided by the applicant is genuine. Any person using false information will be caught. According to reports, the Unique Identification number will be voluntary in the initial stage; however anyone opting to stay out of the system will find it very hard to get access to facilities that require a unique identification number.