Department officials from Kochi in the Ernakulam district of India have reported that the coverage of migrant workers in the area with biometric identification cards has reached 80%.
A department official speaking to The Times of India said, “We have provided biometric ID cards to 1,04,000 migrant workers in Ernakulam bringing 80% of them under the cover.”
Ernakulam, a district of the state of Kerala on India’s Malabar coast, has seen the highest concentration of the nearly five hundred thousand people registered with biometric ID cards across Kerala.
Because the ID cards are only issued to individuals who already have been registered under the national Aadhaar program or with existing voter ID cards, there are concerns over the representation of migrant workers from places like the northern state of Assam, where most of the migrant workers from the region only have ID’s that have been issued to them by local councils.
Though police hope the program will help reduce crimes committed by migrant workers, Benoy added that he fears this won’t be the case, as anybody concerned with being identified through the system will simply not register.
The issuance of these biometric ID cards reflects the Indian authorities’ growing interest in biometric identification, as exemplified by the Aadhaar program, which revolves around the issuance of a twelve digit unique ID based on biometric and demographic data. Managed by The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Aadhaar is considered the largest national biometric identification system in the world, though it has faced criticism in the past for causing several deaths due to ration cards not being issued when identification through the system failed.
Source: The Times of India
December 2, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis