Monday, September 19, 2011

Biometric Cards for Fishermen this Year


Biometric Cards for Fishermen this Year

By Staff Reporter

Department of Fisheries has decided to complete process of enrolment of fishermen for the issue of biometric identity cards in South Andaman district.
The department has started collection of photos, finger prints and signatures from fishermen in and around the fish landing centres at South Andaman remaining fishermen in other districts will be covered in a phased manner.
The Gram Pradhan, Hope Town Rashida Bibi inaugurated the registration of fishermen for issuance of biometric identity cards in the premises of Panchayat hall, Hope town last week. Finger prints and photographs are recorded of the fishermen along with other details like fisherman license, BPL/APL status, EPIC number, Fisheries coop. Society membership numbers etc. She was appreciative of the response from fishermen in the Panchayat area.
Biometric identity cards are compulsory to fishermen engaged in deep-sea fishing as part of beefing up coastal security.
The identity card is going to be an important document for a fisherman, the officials said, adding that once the scheme was complete, Coast Guard personnel would not allow anyone to fish without the biometric identity card.
The scheme for issuing biometric identity cards for fishermen in the A&N Islands has been launched as part of a directive by the Ministry of Home Affairs' to keep vigil along the coasts in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
The Centre provided Rs 72 crore to a consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore for data gathering and issue of biometric cards. According to latest statistics available with the security establishment, Puducherry has the best performance, with 61.1% of its 37,148 fishermen being issued cards. Tamil Nadu comes second, with 42.8%. The above mentioned states had started online registration of fishermen in 2010. Joining West Bengal in the list of zero-per cent achievers are Orissa, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies such as the marine police are to be given card readers that can read these biometric cards.
As per media reports, the project to issue uniform biometric identity cards to fishermen is reportedly going wrong in states like West Bengal with the panchayats issuing fisherman certificates to non-fishermen and farmers allegedly for vested interests.
As a result, thousands of local residents who are not fishermen by profession have applied to the Block administrations and the district fisheries departments for getting biometric ID cards in the hopes of enjoying special benefits entitled for fishermen.
The fisher folks are confused of the various cards on offer - first it was the NPR, next came Aadhaar and now Biometric Identity cards for Indian fishers. A local fisherman complained why the government can't have a single card instead of all this duplicity with different names and wastage of money.

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