Indian Biometric ID Efforts Expand on Land and at Sea

Aadhaar, India’s national biometric ID program, continues to extend its reach across the country.

Indian Biometric ID Efforts Expand on Land and at SeaIn Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, 95.2 percent of the population either have or are awaiting their Aadhaar numbers, with city officials having made Aadhaar enrollment mandatory. But as the program grows, there’s plenty of other incentive to register; The Times of India describes the example of a housewife who was recently prevented from opening a bank account without an Aadhaar number—just one of the many services for which the ID is now required.

Meanwhile, about 72,000 fishers in Maharashtra state have just received their biometric ID cards, with officials promising another 70,000 to follow in a second delivery phase. That’s part of a much larger effort to build a National Marine Fishermen Database, with the aim of preventing sea-based terror attacks. As The Hindu reports, the city of Thane’s Additional Fisheries Commissioner says that the central government plans to issue about 20 million such cards across the country.

As these initiatives indicate, Indian government authorities’ enthusiasm for biometric identification remains strong and may still be growing, and citizens are quickly adapting, too.

Sources: The Times of India, The Hindu

July 12, 2016 – by Alex Perala