eSSL Biometric Secuwatch

January 19, 2011

eSSL Biometrics keeps mid-day meal scheme on track

A simple use of technology has helped streamline gross misuse of funds in government’s mid-day meal programme in government primary schools. Not just the meals; the inexpensive biometric device using general packet radio service (GPRS) technology developed by a Bengaluru-based techie has also come in handy to check teachers’ attendance in these schools and more importantly, the drop-out rate of students, which is rampant and often ignored by school authorities for various reasons.

A pilot project taken up by Bengaluru-based software entrepreneur — Mallikarjun Patil in a village school – Government Composite High School in Nagenahalli, Mysore taluk — has done wonders in controlling pilferage of food grains meant for mid-day meals and saved government lakhs of rupees. Ms G. Satyavathi, chief executive officer, Zilla Panchayat, Mysore taluk had sanctioned permission for the unique project.

“I had heard about the rampant misuse of government funds in the mid-day meal programme. I wondered how technology could be used to help reduce the pilferage and improve school administration in general. I devised a battery-operated biometric gadget using GPRS technology but I needed to conduct a field test to check its functioning.

I found this village school, which is 10 km from Mysore and I approached Ms Satyavathi, chief executive officer, Zilla Panchayat, Mysore taluk for permission. The pilot was launched in November last year with her support,” said Mr Patil. The biometric device has been tailor-made for remote villages, where power supply and net work connectivity are poor.

“The GPRS technology comes in handy to push the data from remote locations to the server in Bengaluru. We have also created various web reports, which have brought in greater transparency and has cut down on the paper work,” said Mr. Patil. He added that hardware is supplied by eSSL— a hardware firm in Bengaluru.

Deccan Chronicle visited the Government School in Nagenhalli to see how the device works.
The portable biometric device has a stored data of finger prints of all the students – from primary section to the high school and when they come to school at around 9 am they have to punch the machine to record attendance. Even the teachers including the heads of the institution have to record their attendance.

By 10 am Mr Patil gets the information on how many children have turned up for the day and he then sends an SMS to the head cook of the school on the amount of rice, lentils and vegetables she should use for the day. The names of regular absentees are sent to the head master — Rajendracharya and head mistress H. Hemaksha so that they can visit the child’s home and draw her/him back to school.

“The Deputy Director of Primary Education and department heads are kept in the loop on the teachers’ attendance. The web-based system also allows government to analyse the database on boy-girl ratio; caste and annual income of parents with the use of graphs and bar charts,” said Mr. Patil.

The Revenue Secretary, Rajiv Chawla, impressed with the project said that it’s a “foolproof method to check pilferage of food grains; students and teachers attendance. It’s a simple, inexpensive multi-purpose device, which has controlled many irregularities in government run primary schools; from the mid-day meal programme to checking teacher absenteeism and drop out rate of children,” said Mr. Chawla.

eSSL Mid Day Meal Article

December 30, 2010

Schools crackdown on absentee teachers, staff, ring in biometric system

To check absenteeism among government school teachers and employees across the state, the education department is going to launch biometric system of attendance in all schools, district education offices and Circle Education offices.



A pilot project was launched in 100 government schools of five districts one and a half month ago.

Talking to The Indian Express, Brig(Retd) Jagtar Singh Jagga, Deputy Manager, Information and Communication Technology, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Punjab said, “The teachers have started marking their attendance through biometric system. We spent an amount of about Rs 50 lakh for installation of biometric machines, GPRS system and software in these schools. The State Data Center in Sector 26, Chandigarh will be made operational within a week.”

September 13, 2007

40,000 Schools fingerprint system project – India

“40,000 Schools fingerprint system pilot project (eSSL) inauguration by Hon. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi”

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The Gujarat state government has initiated a pilot project to ensure full enrolment of all eligible students and to reduce dropout rate in primary schools.

The pilot project covers 680 primary schools, 70 Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) and 4 Block Resources Centres (BRCs) in Narmada district, one of the most backward districts of Gujarat having predominant tribal population and low literacy. It will cover around 2,508 teachers and 76,000 students.

The pilots being implemented by Bangalore based enterprise Software Solutions Lab (ESSL).

In 2003, Gujarat Government had launched “Shala Praveshotsav” (Enrolment Drive) and “Kanya Kelavani Rath” (Girl Child Education Campaign), which has been very successful and is achieving full enrolment of all the eligible students.

However, while the extent of coverage of primary education in the state has been satisfactory, the high rate of dropout is a matter of serious concern.

Having achieved the successful enrolment, the challenge facing the Government is to improve retention and reduce the dropout.

It was discovered that apart from socio-economic reasons, absenteeism of teachers, particularly in tribal areas and remote villages is one of the most important reasons for high dropout rates,

“ All noble initiatives of the State Government lose effectiveness and seriousness, when teachers remain absent without due permission, for a long period. It was, therefore, urgently needed to have a strong and reliable mechanism to monitor attendance of teachers and students,” said a senior official.

A standalone fingerprint biometric machine with external uninterrupted power supply up to 12 hours will be installed in each primary school for recoding attendance of teachers as well as students. At the end of the month, the attendance data is transported to the taluka (Block) HQ in a portable memory device like a pen drive. This attendance data is processed with the help of a software application for getting pay rolls of teachers and other various reports.

The pilot project has great scope of further expansion depending upon its success in Narmada district. The pilot model of biometric attendance system is most likely to be replicated in all other districts of Gujarat if it is tested successfully in district like Narmada.

The expanded project is expected to cover around 40,000 schools, which are to be covered, in a phased manner, in the coming 2-3 years. 

August 24, 2007

Biometrics in 40,000 Schools of India

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Project Titled : “Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System for Primary Schools in Narmada District (Gujarat)”.

Brief Description:

Supply, installation and commissioning of 600 numbers of standalone Fingerprint Biometric Machines in various primary schools in Narmada District (Gujarat)

Tender Ref.: DPN/FBAS/01/2006

District Panchayat – Narmada
Jilla Panchayat Bhawan-Narmada,
Near Karjan Irrigation Project Office,
Rajpipla, Dist. Narmada (Gujarat) 393 145

Background:

To ensure full enrolment of all eligible students and to reduce drop-out rate in primary education, Government of Gujarat launched “Shala Praveshotsav” (Enrolment Drive) and “Kanya Kelavani Rath” (Girl Chid Education Campaign) from the year 2003. This programme has been very successful and is achieving full enrolment of all the eligible students. 

The extent of coverage of primary education in the state has been satisfactory but high rate of drop-out is a matter of serious concern. In the last three years, the Primary Education Department of Government of Gujarat has introduced several schemes to address the problem of drop-outs.

While lots of initiatives are being taken to improve primary education, it is equally important to sustain and deepen these reforms. After the success of enrolment drives with the achievement of full enrolment, the challenge now is to improve retention and reduce the drop-out.

Apart from socio-economic reasons, absenteeism of teachers, particularly in tribal areas and remote villages is one of the most important reasons for high dropout rates. All noble initiatives of the State Government lose effectiveness and seriousness, when teachers remain absent without due permission, for a long period. Above entioned areas, which are also the areas of lowest female literacy rates are suffering a lot because of this problem. It is urgently needed to have a strong and reliable mechanism to monitor attendance of teachers and students.

In order to have strict watch on the attendance of the teachers and the students, a Fingerprint Biometric School Attendance System was proposed for Narmada District. Government of Gujarat has accepted the proposal and has sanctioned a pilot project of a Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System for all primary schools in Narmada District to be implemented by the District Panchayat – Narmada (Rajpipla). After implementation, Narmada probably will become the first district in the country to cover all primary schools by a Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System.

Pilot Project:

The pilot project is planned to cover 680 primary schools, 70 Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) and 4 Block Resources Centres (BRCs) in Narmada District. It will cover around 2508 teachers and 76,000 students. A stand alone fingerprint biometric machine with external un-interrupted power supply upto 12 hours will be installed in each primary school for recording attendance of teachers as well as students. At the end of the month, the attendance data will be transported to the taluka (Block) HQ in a portable memory device like a pen drive. This attendance data will be processed with the help of a software application for getting pay rolls of teachers and other various reports.

The pilot project has a great scope of further expansion depending upon its success in Narmada district. Narmada district is one of the most backward districts of Gujarat having predominant tribal population and low literacy indicators. The pilot model of biometric attendance system is most likely to be replicated in all other districts of Gujarat if it is tested successful in a district like Narmada. The expanded project is expected to cover around 40,000 schools, which are to be covered, in a phased manner, in the coming 2-3 years.

Pilot Project Implementation:

As an implementing agency District Panchayat – Narmada (Rajpipla) has decided that the procurement of the standalone Fingerprint Biometric Machines (FBMs) along with accessories would be through National Competitive Bidding while the software application would be developed by the NIC-Gujarat. To carry out this objective, District Panchayat – Narmada proposes to finalise a rate contract with only manufacturers of Fingerprint Biometric Machines (FBMs) in India for supply, installation and commissioning of standalone FBMs as per specifications given in the tender document.

Thumb-Print Banking Takes India

source: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/01/72284

CHENNAI, India — Banks and ATM machines are an unfamiliar sight in the rural countryside here, but the government hopes to change that with new technology that could ease the transition from cash to computers.

A pilot program will put 15 biometric ATMs at village kiosks in five districts across southern India. The machines are expected to serve about 100,000 workers who will use fingerprint scanners, rather than ATM cards and PINs, to obtain their funds.

Biometric ATMs are already in use in Colombia and a few locations in Japan, but haven’t caught on in much of the rest of the world. As a result, biometrics companies are watching the experiment closely as a potential watershed for the industry.

Nagaraj Mylandla, managing director of Financial Software and Systems, which helped design security protocol for the new system, said there are 35,000 non-biometric ATMs in India today. In three years the number of machines is expected to triple to more than 100,000, leaving a window of opportunity for suppliers to make the new technology standard issue for all new machines.

The increase will mean that just about every rural village and outpost will have access to the world’s financial backbone and, if the pilot program is successful, fingerprint identification could become standard, even for private bank transactions.

“Many banks here are keen on this idea of doing away with ATM cards,” said Sunil Udupa, CEO of AGS Infotech, the company supplying the first batch of ATMs to the five districts in India. “Whether it is practically possible is a very different question, but the interest is huge.”

Officials hope the plan will bring billions of rupees currently being held in private hands into the banking mainstream, and that it might even shelter the country’s poor from the ravages of inflation, theft and widespread corruption.

For example, some believe e-banking will help eliminate several layers of middlemen who manage, and often siphon off, government-allocated funds earmarked for low-income workers.

Under the current system, money gets sent from the government coffers and passes through the desks of dozens of bureaucrats and private contractors. Each tends to take a cut along the way so the money that reaches workers is usually only a fraction of what was allocated. Electronic banking will eliminate the middlemen, and provide a real increase in rural wages.

“This is really meant to cut down on corruption,” said Mylandla. “The whole structure is designed so that only the people at the end get the money. No one in between can steal it along the way.”

The program is not without its critics, however.

For example, privacy issues may arise in switching from user-generated numeric codes to bio-data. According to Mylandla and Udupi, law-enforcement agencies have already expressed interest in having access to the data for fraud prevention and to track known criminals through fingerprint transactions. It is unknown what other agencies might be able to see the data.

Another concern is that in some of the more crime-ridden areas of the country, fingerprint IDs could give rise to a new sort of crime where bandits chop off digits in order to withdraw cash from ATMs. Without a PIN code, a robber would be able to enter an account using a severed thumb.

In the last several years there have been several incidents of bandits chopping off hands to retrieve gold bangles from women’s wrists, and last year in Malaysia bandits cut off the thumb of a man driving a sports car in order to activate the biometric thumbprint ignition.

Those implementing the biometric machines in India scoff at the idea that this could become a problem.

“I have heard of instances where people get held up and gunpoint and told to enter their ATM pins with ordinary cards,” said Gopal Shekar, director of corporate communications at FSS. “The danger of violence is the same with biometric cards. Besides, the most anyone can withdraw in a day is 10,000 rupees ($230). Who would kill someone for so little?”

Whether that proves true or not, bringing poor farmers into the banking fold won’t be easy. The project will have to overcome communication barriers posed by the thousands of dialects in the country, not to mention illiteracy and unfamiliarity with computers.

The first prototype ATMs used PIN codes and written instructions, and failed miserably.

“The main problem is that most farmers are illiterate and only speak local dialects,” said Udupa. “The farmers couldn’t remember their PIN codes and didn’t understand the on-screen instructions. So we developed a fingerprint interface with audio and visual instructions that they could understand.”

Udupa thinks farmers are comfortable with fingerprint technology because they have already been introduced to other government projects that use biometrics. Bhoomi, a widely accepted land-record program in the state of Karnataka, uses fingerprints to verify owners of land records.

Biometric solution to avoid duplication of PAN cards


P Chidambaram

New Delhi: Concerned over increasing misuse of Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards, the Government is likely to introduce biometric solution so that no one can get a duplicate card. A joint Working Group in the Ministry of Finance has given its report after obtaining technical and commercial proposals from leading biometric solution providers, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour. “The report is under consideration at present,” the minister said. He also informed the House, that the number of persons suspected to have duplicate PANs are estimated to be 13,10,127 through out the country. The verification exercise as of August 10, 2007 has been completed in respect of 11,43,919 persons, out of which 10,18421 PAN cards have been found to be duplicate and have been deactivated. On the biometric solution, the Minister said “it was being considered so that no one could obtain duplicate card”. Replying to another question with regard to cloning of credit cards resulting in frauds, Chidambaram said: Out of millions of cards issued through out India only 127 instances were reported in 2006 and the amount involved was Rs 235.42 lakh. While in 2007, till June, 61 cases have come forward involving Rs 123.11 crore. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a part of its supervisory process has been sensitising banks from time to time about common fraud prone areas, modus operandi and the measures to be taken by them to prevent or reduce the incidence of frauds in banks. Chidambaram, however, said that it was the responsibility of owner of a credit card to ensure that no body could misuse it. Asked whether any bank employee was involved in cloning of credit cards, the minister said no such instance has been reported. On the proposed unique identification card for multi purposes, Chidamabaram said: The Ministry of Home Affairs was examining the matter and had also launched a pilot project in the border areas before taking a final decision. (PTI)

August 23, 2007

Biometric tracking gives a tamper proof identity to villagers

Remote Gurrampeta, a tribal hamlet, seemed hardly the ideal place to distribute smart cards after an experiment with sophisticated personal tracking or access control systems. The backward village with 150 families was poverty-stricken and calamity prone. All that the tribals here wanted was a decent livelihood that would give them at least a meal a day. So, when Kris Dev and his IT savvy team from Chennai hit this rural reach of Andhra Pradesh, carrying their ‘access technology’ equipment, comprising a biometric device, a 9″ by 6 “equipment weighing barely 500 gms, and a laptop, the villagers did not exactly jump with joy.

”In fact, after setting up the equipment to start their experiment, it suddenly struck us that there was no power supply to Gurrampeta village,” says Kris Dev, a management and ICT consultant, specialising in decentralization and e-governance, co-founder of the Life Line 2 Business (LL2B). He recently won the Manthan Award in the category of ‘e-inclusion and livelihood creation.” The April 2006 experiment by Kris and his team in three villages of Andhra Pradesh, Gurrampeta (V R Puram Mandal in Khammam District), Mohammedabad and Jakulla Kootha Palli (Amadugur Mandal in Ananthapur district) coming under the National Rural Development Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA) for ‘Biometric Tracking of Payments under NREGA and others’ was adjudged the best among 25 states in India.

Back in Gurrampeta, Kris and his colleagues, found a 6-volt car battery and kicked off their experiment which promised to usher in radical changes at the grass root level ”where villagers working in agricultural fields, construction sites or factories were always being exploited by greedy, corrupt middlemen.” Their village initiative had been possible only after several rounds of counselling and explanations. It was quite understandable, as the villagers had only recently been taken for a big ride.

Soon after the 2005 floods in coastal Andhra Pradesh spread over Khammam district, the Hyderabad-based Centre for World Solidarity, a NGO, announced solatium of Rs. 500 each for many villages including Gurrampeta. ”A middleman, authorised to distribute the relief money, put his thumbprints across 135 names of affected villagers and pocketed funds worth Rs. 75,000,” says Kris. Only 15 villagers actually got the relief. Kris explained to the disillusioned villagers that this would never happen with a biometric device where each of them would have a ‘unique identity’ by registering their thumbprint into the machine and their photographs integrated through software. So, every time they put their thumb on the optical scan for verification, their photographs would pop up. The biometric device has a provision to enter the citizen’s ID and displays the ID and name on a LCD screen.

”When a villager signs in for work, he registers on he biometric device. He does the same when he finishes work. So, there is an official record of the man days he puts in which cannot be tampered with and he has to be paid for work done on those days. We have work records (muster-rolls) in villages showing how supervisors have tampered with number of working days of villagers so that they could pocket the extra cash,” said Kris. ”A biometric-based smart card where the citizen uses the information of what he has, what he knows and what he is, ensures a high level of security,” he added.

Now, villagers of Gurrampeta, neighbouring Mohammedabad and J K Palli are thrilled with their new identity. But this was just an experiment. Convincing the policy makers to introduce the process on a permanent basis has proved to be more difficult. In fact, one officer wanted to know if the biometric device would work as well with work-worn hands as it did with his ‘soft’ fingers. ”We showed him that the device worked with everyone —a villager working with machines in a factory, whose work-roughened palms were full of corns and those working in cement factories,” points out Kris. So, while he had convinced villagers that a unique ‘biometric’ citizen identity would dramatically change their lives, the greater challenge has been to convince the various state and district administrations.

The investment would be a mere Rs. 20,000 in every village for a battery-run biometric device in conjunction with a suitable software that can register citizens uniquely, avoid duplication, create a data base of citizens and permit online transfer of information for the district and state administrations to view online. Kris is still waiting with crossed fingers for the first invitation to a village in India for implementing the project.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/21904.html

Villagers working under NREG scheme get tamper-proof identity cards through biometric authentication

Villagers working under NREG scheme get tamper-proof identity cards through biometric authentication

CHENNAI, JUNE 11: Devanti Devi, Dilip Shaw and Bisuandayal Manjhi of the Gonpura panchayat in Bihar will soon be sporting smart job cards that also double up as ATM/debit cards. They are workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme (NREG) and are among 170 men and women in two villages who would be the first to be registered as NREG members through a foolproof biometric verification device.

For three days from last Tuesday, after the initial hostility and scepticism, villagers in Kurkuri and Dhuparchak Mushahari in Phulwarisharif block of Patna district, gathered at the Panchayat office to place their fingers (all 10) on a Korean-made biometric device. Each finger was registered twice for getting the best value of minutiae counts (the whorls and ridges on a finger).

Then the villagers were photographed and all their personal data was registered on their NREG Card. With the photograph and details scanned and attached to their names, the state created a permanent database on the workers.

After the registration process was completed, the verification was done immediately by entering the NREG ID number, and the beneficiary was asked to place any finger on the biometric device, a small machine that is easily portable to the worksite. The individual’s photograph instantly popped up from the database on the computer monitor.

“The technology has been proven through a transparent system. Now we have to link it to our NREG process which will give every member a job card or a smart card and cover entire Bihar,” Anup Mukherji, Commissioner of the Rural Development Department, told The Indian Express.

All that a panchayat would need for implementing a fool-proof registration and verification process is a biometric device costing about Rs. 20,000, a laptop computer of about Rs. 25,000, a webcam or a digital camera and a personnel for operating the devices.

With Nitish Kumar keen on making the poverty alleviation programme a success in his state, his government had initially hit on the idea of fingerprinting each of the NREG workers at the time of registration and during payment of their wages. But this was hardly effective since verification of the fingerprints was a mind-boggling process and required a forensic expert to certify each of them.

It was around this time that an article in The Indian Express on January 28 this year on a biometric tracking concept devised by Kris Dev, a Chennai-based e-governance consultant, caught the attention of the Bihar administration. Mukherji got in touch with Kris Dev and asked him to prove to the state government that the technology worked at the ground level. “If your solution does all that the article describes, it would be ideal for Bihar where people find ways to beat all systems,” Mukherji told Kris Dev.

Dev went to Patna in February to make a presentation to the Bihar State Electronics Corporation and later at two villages. On June 7, Nitish Kumar watched the demo in the two villages that Kris Dev presented and gave a spot clearance for the concept to be implemented throughout Bihar.

“It is surprising that Bihar should become the first state in India to introduce biometric tracking for NREG,” said Dev today.

Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System for Primary Schools

Project Titled : “Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System for Primary Schools in Narmada District (Gujarat)”.

Brief Description:

Supply, installation and commissioning of 600 numbers of standalone Fingerprint Biometric Machines in various primary schools in Narmada District (Gujarat)

Tender Ref.: DPN/FBAS/01/2006

District Panchayat – Narmada
Jilla Panchayat Bhawan-Narmada,
Near Karjan Irrigation Project Office,
Rajpipla, Dist. Narmada (Gujarat) 393 145

Background:

To ensure full enrolment of all eligible students and to reduce drop-out rate in primary education, Government of Gujarat launched “Shala Praveshotsav” (Enrolment Drive) and “Kanya Kelavani Rath” (Girl Chid Education Campaign) from the year 2003. This programme has been very successful and is achieving full enrolment of all the eligible students. 

The extent of coverage of primary education in the state has been satisfactory but high rate of drop-out is a matter of serious concern. In the last three years, the Primary Education Department of Government of Gujarat has introduced several schemes to address the problem of drop-outs.

While lots of initiatives are being taken to improve primary education, it is equally important to sustain and deepen these reforms. After the success of enrolment drives with the achievement of full enrolment, the challenge now is to improve retention and reduce the drop-out.

Apart from socio-economic reasons, absenteeism of teachers, particularly in tribal areas and remote villages is one of the most important reasons for high dropout rates. All noble initiatives of the State Government lose effectiveness and seriousness, when teachers remain absent without due permission, for a long period. Above entioned areas, which are also the areas of lowest female literacy rates are suffering a lot because of this problem. It is urgently needed to have a strong and reliable mechanism to monitor attendance of teachers and students.

In order to have strict watch on the attendance of the teachers and the students, a Fingerprint Biometric School Attendance System was proposed for Narmada District. Government of Gujarat has accepted the proposal and has sanctioned a pilot project of a Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System for all primary schools in Narmada District to be implemented by the District Panchayat – Narmada (Rajpipla). After implementation, Narmada probably will become the first district in the country to cover all primary schools by a Fingerprint Biometric Attendance System.

Pilot Project:

The pilot project is planned to cover 680 primary schools, 70 Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) and 4 Block Resources Centres (BRCs) in Narmada District. It will cover around 2508 teachers and 76,000 students. A stand alone fingerprint biometric machine with external un-interrupted power supply upto 12 hours will be installed in each primary school for recording attendance of teachers as well as students. At the end of the month, the attendance data will be transported to the taluka (Block) HQ in a portable memory device like a pen drive. This attendance data will be processed with the help of a software application for getting pay rolls of teachers and other various reports.

The pilot project has a great scope of further expansion depending upon its success in Narmada district. Narmada district is one of the most backward districts of Gujarat having predominant tribal population and low literacy indicators. The pilot model of biometric attendance system is most likely to be replicated in all other districts of Gujarat if it is tested successful in a district like Narmada. The expanded project is expected to cover around 40,000 schools, which are to be covered, in a phased manner, in the coming 2-3 years.

Pilot Project Implementation:

As an implementing agency District Panchayat – Narmada (Rajpipla) has decided that the procurement of the standalone Fingerprint Biometric Machines (FBMs) along with accessories would be through National Competitive Bidding while the software application would be developed by the NIC-Gujarat. To carry out this objective, District Panchayat – Narmada proposes to finalise a rate contract with only manufacturers of Fingerprint Biometric Machines (FBMs) in India for supply, installation and commissioning of standalone FBMs as per specifications given in the tender document.

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