A major social welfare program in Pakistan is shifting to biometric payments for its subsidies. The board of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) decided this week that it will shift all modes of payments to a concept based on biometric authentication in a project starting immediately.
The Express Tribune cites an unnamed BISP official as stating that the system has already been introduced in certain areas on a trial basis, but that BISP’s leadership is now aiming to expand the system across the country by the end of next year. The mechanism by which the system operates hasn’t been specified by BISP, but its aim is to link subsidy recipients’ profiles directly to their biometric information, helping to reduce fraud and to alleviate administrative issues like replacing lost banking cards. It’s also intended to improve efficiency by allowing subsidies to be transmitted directly to recipients.
The system is similar to one of the major functions of Aadhaar, neighboring India’s ambitious national biometric ID program. Aadhaar is also based on biometric ID data, and Indian officials have endeavored to use it to improve the distribution of social subsidies, among other functions. The model is evidently catching on, with many Pakistani citizens now poised to benefit.
September 27, 2016 – by Alex Perala