eKYC – Deploying a Biometrics System to Combat Hunger and Malnutrition
The Indian “Targeted Public Distribution System” (TPDS) is the most extensive food distribution system in the world. Approximately 800 million citizens frequent so-called Fair Price Shops across the country in order to acquire favorably priced, state-subsidized food grain which includes wheat and rice. Around 54 million people use the Fair Price Shops in the state of Madhya Pradesh alone but over time, duplicate entries managed to find their way into the shop’s system. To make the matter worse, some of the goods have also been distributed to imposters that registered using false identities. The project “Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience” (FaNS) supports the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection in Madhya Pradesh in solving this problem that is interfering with a fair food distribution: The state is piloting a solution that introduces an innovative electronic “know your customer” (eKYC) process to all of the 25.000 Fair Price Shops in Madhya Pradesh. In the past this process was manual and slow but the new technology in the form of fingerprint scanners enables biometrically unique as well as fast and secure identification of a person at Fair Price Shops. Furthermore, by merging the data, the new eKYC system makes it possible to detect duplicate entries. The eKYC solution thereby contributes to a fair distribution of a vital resource among the population.