India’s central government says it has collected the biometric data of roughly 990 million citizens through its Aadhaar project. The figure was presented by IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at a meeting of the Rajya Sabha, or Council of States.
Aadhaar is, of course, the pioneering biometric ID project that has sought to link a range of government services to a central database of citizens. Part of the government’s aim with the project has been to reduce graft and corruption, and to that end it is evidently seeing success: Prasad asserted that the government has saved about $2.2 billion in its Direct Benefit Transfer program, and about $350 million in its Public Distribution System.
In addressing the Rajya Sabha, Prasad also made a special effort to address the issue of privacy, asserting that “the core biometrics cannot be shared even with the consent of its owner.”
The minister asserted that the biggest issue facing Aadhaar at present is a judicial blockage preventing the government from expanding the program. Essentially, the government is seeking permission to begin further Aadhaar initiatives from India’s Supreme Court, which has so far put off a ruling on the matter. If that is resolved, what appears to be the biggest government biometrics project in the world will be set to get even bigger.
Source: The Hindu
March 11, 2016 – by Alex Perala