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‘Unique’ Facial Recognition Technology for Pensioners

‘Unique’ Facial Recognition Technology for Pensioners

Earlier pensioners of the central government and other government departments in India had to physically submit their pension certificates annually in order to claim their pensions. Seeing the pains with which the pensioners have to go through in physical submissions of their certificates, the government came out with Digital Life Certificates (DLC) in the year 2014 wherein the pensioners could generate their AADHAR linked DLC online and gave the pensioners relief from approaching the office without the need to visit the disbursal centre. But, given the fact that the pensioners’ age group is not that technology savvy, they find it difficult to deal with gadgets to generate their digital life certificates. Taking the same into consideration, the government has moved one step ahead to provide ease of living with this ‘unique’ facial recognition technology for pensioners and the elderly which will act as a proof of ‘life certificate’ to claim their pensions.

What is a facial recognition technology?

A facial recognition technology is a part of biometric technology that identifies and distinguishes people on the basis of certain part of their body. Facial recognition as the name suggests is based on identifying and distinguishing a person on the basis of facial contours and skin patterns of the person.

In this particular facial recognition system, a photograph of the person is taken from the camera and then with the help of some advanced softwares the image is reconstructed to be stored into a large database. This information stored in the database is then linked and integrated with any kind of software that may be used for the purpose of government services, security, criminal database etc.

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Need for Facial Recognition Technology for Pensioners in India

The facial recognition technology for pensioners was taken out with the aim of providing relief to the pensioners from the hardships of physically rallying up at the disbursal centres to show their life certificates. This initiative is also an extension of the Digital India initiative of the Prime Minister.

Although the government had already introduced digital certificates in the year 2014 this facial recognition technology for pensioners will indeed a step forward in their ease of living. The reason is that the population in the age group of pensioners is not technology savvy to use smartphones and generate digital life certificates. However, this technology further smoothens the process where no manual entry is required to be made by the beneficiary. The facial recognition system will automatically verify it, and the whole process will be hassle-free.

This facial recognition technology for pensioners was initiated by the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare. This initiative has been designed with the joint efforts of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), National Informatics Centre (NIC)[1], UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).

Beneficiaries of FRT for pensioners

Following are the beneficiaries from the technology devised to extend ease of living for the elderly:

  1. 68 lakh Pensioners of the Central Government
  2. Pensioners of the State Government
  3. Pensioners of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) scheme and others.

Ease of living introduced by Facial Recognition System for Pensioners

This facial recognition technology is a service and a mark of respect to acknowledge the years of service that the pensioners have rendered to this nation. The Department of Pension under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has been working in the past few years contributing to the Ease of Living for the elderly pensioners. Some of the initiatives that have been taken by the Department of Pension to contribute to Ease of Living include:

  • Introduction of Digital Life Certificates (DLC) in order to provide relief to the elderly from physical submission of life certificate at the disbursal centres. This relieves the pensioners from the hassles of visiting the disbursal centres and standing in long queues.
  • Another initiative taken by the Department of Pension is developing the online platform ‘Bhavishya’ for the online settlement of cases related to pensions of all Government of India pensioners.
  • Another step taken by the ministry is the issuing of electronic Pension Payment Order (e-PPOs which helps the pensioners to receive the pension) in the Digi locker which reflects transparent functioning from the government’s end and another step in the direction of Ease of living.
  • Among the many initiatives taken by the Department of Pension is the setting up of Pension Adalats on video conferencing mode so that no hardship takes place to the elderly in physically approaching the court for the resolution of their disputes.
  • Another initiative taken at the behest of Prime Minister is the setting up of an online portal by the name of ‘Anubhav’ which is the repository of the experiences shared by the government employees in their long years of service which becomes a huge resource base for the government. 
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The culture of any nation is judged by how it treats its women, handicapped and old and elderly. Fortunately, Indian civilisation has always given them a high place in the society. For the retired government personnel the introduction of Digital Life Certificates was a ground breaking development where they no longer had to be physically present to receive their pension. This Facial Recognition technology for pensioners is another step in reiterating the same position. Providing a simplified and hassle free environment was indeed a necessary step in providing ease of living for the elderly. A lot of efforts have been made before this and hopefully even more would be taken in the times to come.

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