Biometric screening of welfare pensioners will be tried – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pilot phase of biometric authentication for home delivery of social security pension will be rolled out in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts. The government will opt for a statewide expansion if the pilot phase of distribution through six cooperative societies is successful. Home delivery of social security pensions is provided by the main agricultural credit societies and other cooperatives. Fingerprint-based identification keeps tabs on unspent funds with corporations and also prevents misappropriation of funds by distribution agents.

The finance department had previously reported that several companies were unwilling to return unspent money. One company was found to have held above Rs 4 lakh for three months, contrary to the instruction to repay unspent money within ten days.

Embezzlement of funds by debt collectors has been reported in different districts. In most cases, debt collectors misappropriated the money by forging the signatures of recipients, including the dead. About 25 lakh out of the total 52 beneficiaries receive a pension at home.

The cooperatives participating in the pilot phase are Naruvamoodu Service Cooperative Bank, Nedumangad Service Cooperative Bank, Varkala Service Cooperative Bank — all in Thiruvananthapuram — Punalur Service Cooperative Bank, Karunagappally Service Cooperative Bank and Paravur Regional Bank in Kollam. It is estimated that 3,000 people receive a home pension through these cooperatives.

These cooperatives have been invited to purchase wearable biometric devices in the Rs 2,000-3,000 range. Information Kerala Mission (IKM) provides the software support. The pilot phase will be launched in two months. Meanwhile, the Aadhaar seeding of pension recipients is nearing completion. Only about 50,000 people remain among the 52 lakh beneficiaries. Most people are bedridden, seriously ill or mentally handicapped.

Elna M. Lemons