25 lakh Central govt. pensioners receive digital life certificates

Around 25 lakh Central government pensioners have been provided digital life certificates, out of which 2.2 lakh certificates were enabled by facial authentication, under a special drive, Union Personnel Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday. The drive was conducted for 20 days to encourage pensioners to avail the facility.

The Minister asserted at a press conference that “harmless data” was gathered for the limited purpose of verifying pensioners. The certificates are issued within 60 seconds by logging into an app, and are linked to Aadhar.

When The Hindu asked about the security of the data, Chief Executive Officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Saurabh Garg said, “As far as authentication is concerned, it is specified in the Aadhaar Act that we can keep the data for six months for verification and cases of disputes. We do not store any data.”

“The data is harmless. It is only meant to ensure that the person to whom the pension is going exists,” Dr. Singh said.

Mr. Garg said the facial technology was developed in-house in 2021 as a response to issues raised during the pandemic. Dr. Singh said submission of life certificates is important to ensure pension continuity of pensioners.

Aided by facial recognition technology, the drive collected ‘harmless data’ for verification