Pensioners in the Indian city of Vijayawada who don’t have bank accounts will soon receive their pension payments at their doorsteps, according to a New Indian Express article. The only catch is that those pensioners will need to have their irises scanned for identity authentication purposes.
The announcement came from a press conference hosted by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, where VMC commissioner G. Veerapandian revealed that the project would be completed by the end of April, serving 5088 pensioners who lack bank accounts through which the pension funds would normally distributed automatically. Once the pensioners are authenticated via iris scan, the VMC will open savings accounts for them and provide them with smart cards that will allow them to withdraw pension funds and perform other transactions.
The new system, first announced at the end of January, will replace the previous thumbprint identification system, which the VMC says was unreliable. It appears to also be part of a general project on the part of the Indian government to push the country forward digitally. To that end, the federal government has been building a biometric registry of all citizens with its Aadhaar ID program, and is using that system to administer subsidies and services – a major help to those many citizens for whom access to government services had previously been difficult.
March 31, 2015 – by Alex Perala