Biometric ID system or not, old habits die hard

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Employees of the Sindh government’s departments have been found indifferent or responding slowly to the newly installed Biometric Identification Electronic System (BIES), which ensures that all employees of the provincial government arrive at work on time and put in the required number of hours.
Since the installation of the system in January this year, only 2,888 enrolment forms have been received from the 42 departments of the provincial government, including the Governor’s House and the Chief Minister’s House.
According to the monthly progress report for August submitted to the chief secretary by the Information Technology (IT) Department on October 3, the basic infrastructure for all buildings has been completed for the installation of BIES, whereas the feasibility study of all districts of the province for the second phase has started and would be completed soon.
The report said the IT Department has started deployment and installation of biometric devices and equipment at the Governor’s House and installation of these devices along with UPS boxes and cabling for the Chief Minister’s House would start soon.
The report also said though enrolment forms for the BIES have been distributed among all the departments and the registration process is under way, employee enrolment is slow because of poor response from the departments.
It is to be noted here that this is the first phase of the project – total estimated cost of the project is Rs 98.87 million – in which iris-based electronic identification is to be implemented for the employees, but for future integration, they have to collect and store data for iris recognition, fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and hand geometry of each employee.
A private limited company, Infotech, is setting up the BIES in the 42 departments of the provincial government and by August, the vendor delivered and installed almost all the equipment, whereas the software has also been installed, but the workflow on reporting would be finalised after the test-run.
The project’s cost of expenditure in the previous financial year was Rs 81.21 million out of the total estimated cost of Rs 98.87 million, whereas the allocation for the current financial year is Rs 17.66 million.
The basic objective of the project is to improve productivity of the departments of the provincial government by ensuring that all employees arrive at work on time and put in the required number of hours.
Moreover, this project aims at ensuring all departments and offices have a uniform measure of authentication and secure physical access to a centrally supported system for tracking movement of the staff and visitors.
The main components of the project include employee registration and biometric data collection – iris, thumb, facial and hand geometry; iris-based biometric devices deployment for attendance and monitoring; data centre setup and integration with biometric devices; and management information system (MIS) portal for tracking and MIS reporting.