Biometric technology uses unique biological and physiological characteristics to uniquely identify an individual. This technology has been used successfully by governments and private organizations to secure locations and data from unwanted access. Off late, the Indian government has used this technology to improve distribution systems and ensure that the benefits of the booming economy trickle down to the rural poor.
Biometric fingerprint reader takes the impression of the ridges on the fingertips to create a template, which is later for identification purposes. This application has been successfully implemented in hotels, hospitals, banks providing host of functionalities like fingerprint attendance, security, data control and so on. Biometric devices like the USB fingerprint reader is expected to become the norm in the banking industry once stricter internal control requirements become mandatory.
State Rural Development ties up with the Union Bank empower MGNREGA beneficiaries
The Indian government has decided to take recourse to Biometric technology to empower beneficiaries under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and to reduce the involvement of middlemen. The government decided to go ahead with the scheme after a research revealed that the benefits did not reach the intended recipients because a major portion of the funds were siphoned off by middlemen. Once the scheme is fully implemented the beneficiaries will be able to avail of the benefits without having to go to the post office or banks or seeking the help of middlemen.
The Union Bank will facilitate the implementation of the scheme, issuing 5000 biometric cards in the first phase of the scheme that will cover MGNRGA beneficiaries in the Itki block of Ranchi district. The scheme will be extended to other districts, notably Ranchi, Gumla and Bokaro in the future. Sunil Kumar Barnwal, who oversees the implementation of the MGNRGA scheme, says that once the scheme is implemented, the beneficiaries will get the money right at their doorsteps, without having to walk miles to collect their benefits.
Under the scheme the State Rural Development bank will make bulk transfers to the Union bank at the beginning of the month. This amount will be distributed by a team of business correspondents travelling from door to door, carrying finger print readers and cash. According to experts, studies have revealed that people in rural India prefer biometric technology over the archaic system of pin numbers and passwords. Sources say that the scheme will save the villagers from the clutches of the middlemen, who demand a commission for filling out withdrawal slips and cheques.