India’s federal government has been working diligently to install biometric attendance tracking systems at all of its offices, and some interesting results are starting to come in, according to an article in The Hindu. While there aren’t yet solid statistics on attendance per se, we are starting to see which government departments are simply not using the new tracking systems.
At the top of the list of those not using the system – and this will surely be dispiriting to those with a lot of faith in the military – is India’s Defence Ministry. According to the Hindu Times article, most of the employees in the various departments affiliated with the Defence Ministry are simply not marking their attendance: For example, none of the 746 employees of the Engineer-in-Chief have used it, nor have any of the 195 staffers at the National Investigation Agency. More hopefully, 576 of the 736 employees at the Department of Personnel and Training have used technology, though this is still not great given that the DoPT is the main enforcer of the new protocol; it has issued a new directive to all department heads urging them to get their employees on track.
The government-wide attendance tracking initiative is part of the larger Aadhaar identity card project, which aims to set up a digital, biometric registry of all Indian citizens. Employees must register for the biometric attendance tracking system using their Aadhaar cards, and those cards are also being used to ensure that government subsidies are delivered effectively – cutting down on graft – and to provide easier access to government health services, among other ends. It’s currently the most ambitious national biometrics program in the world, and while it’s off to a slow start at the Defence Ministry, it’s a fair bet that sooner or later all staff will be on board.
February 3, 2015 – by Alex Perala