Auto-pilot old-age pension scheme faces authentication woes

Last Updated 30 January 2021, 21:06 IST

Aadhaar seeding has become a roadblock for securing old-age pension benefits for a sizable population, due to bio-metric authentication problems.

In Udupi district, where the pilot project for auto-sanctioning old-age pension was launched, bio-metric details such as fingerprints and iris scan details could not be used for Aadhaar authentication of several beneficiaries.

This has posed a problem for the government during the ongoing rollout of the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.

The ambitious scheme aims to auto-select beneficiaries for old-age pensions based on income details available with the government. During the pilot for the project, officials in Udupi district faced problems as Aadhaar authentication was not possible for 4-5% of the beneficiaries.

Udupi deputy commissioner G Jagadeesha told DH that they faced authentication issues with 200-300 beneficiaries, while enrolling them for the project.

“Of the total number of beneficiaries, 4-5% could not be enrolled due to authentication problems. We have referred such cases to the government, seeking guidelines to provide benefits,” he said.

The district administration, he said, was compiling reasons to understand why Aadhaar authentication was not possible in certain cases. “These details will be submitted to the government,” he said.

The directorate of social security and pensions (DSSP) has decided to provide pensions using conventional methods, until alternative authentication methods are implemented.

“We have provisions to provide pensions by either linking Aadhaar to bank accounts, or by just collecting account details of the beneficiaries,” G Prabhu, director, DSSP, said.

Those facing authentication issues can get benefits transferred directly to their accounts on production of relevant documents certified by the local tahsildar, Prabhu said.

Face recognition

With plans to auto-sanction various pensions, the government was keen on employing the face recognition authentication feature developed by the Unique Identification Authority of India.

According to sources, the government was planning to use the technique for authentication in cases where bio-metrics of the beneficiaries could not be captured. “We are planning to employ the measure in the coming days to solve these problems,” sources in e-governance department told DH.

Prabhu, noting that though there was a proposal, implementing the same was a challenge especially in rural areas where high speed internet connectivity was still a challenge.

“We will launch it in a phased manner soon,” he added.

(Published 28 January 2021, 19:28 IST)

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