THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pilot phase of biometric authentication for home delivery of social security pension will be rolled out in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. The government will go for a statewide expansion if the pilot phase of distribution through six cooperative societies is successful. The home delivery of social security pension is made through primary agricultural credit societies and other cooperatives. The fingerprint-based identification is to keep a tab on unspent funds with societies and also to prevent misappropriation of funds by distribution agents.
The finance department had earlier reported that several societies were not keen on repaying the unspent money. A society was found to have kept above Rs 4 lakh for three months as against the instruction to repay unspent money within ten days.
Embezzlement of funds by collection agents was reported from different districts. In most cases, collection agents siphoned off the money by faking the signatures of beneficiaries, including the dead. Around 25 lakh of the total 52 lakh beneficiaries are given pension at their homes.
The cooperatives participating in the pilot phase are Naruvamoodu Service Cooperative Bank, Nedumangad Service Cooperative Bank, Varkala Service Cooperative Bank -- all in Thiruvananthapuram -- Punalur Service Cooperative Bank, Karunagappally Service Cooperative Bank and Paravur Regional Bank in Kollam. An estimated 3,000 persons are getting home delivery of pension through these cooperatives.
These cooperatives have been asked to buy hand-held biometric devices in the Rs 2,000-3,000 range. The Information Kerala Mission (IKM) is giving the software support. The pilot phase will be set in motion in two months. Meanwhile, Aadhaar seeding of pension beneficiaries is nearing completion. Only about 50,000 persons among the 52 lakh beneficiaries are remaining. Most of the persons are bedridden, severely ill or mentally challenged.