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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi inaugurated the biometric verification system for pensioners and said that it would ensure transparent dispensation of Rs60 billion monthly among 1.4 million people in pension.

The president said, while addressing the launch of digital facility for pensioners here at the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR), on Friday the initiative would not only improve the system of personal verification of pensioners, but also ensure a check on fake identities. He said that any transparent system for verification of the pensioners would be a welcome development.

The new biometric system will replace the existing requirement of the yearly submission of life certificate.

Earlier, the pensioners were required to submit a life certificate duly stamped by a gazetted officer besides their physical presence as proof of life, which made it extremely inconvenient for the elderly.

The president said the government’s initiatives about electronic voting machines and i-voting were aimed at achieving the same objectives.

The president said that effort for using Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and internet-voting for overseas Pakistanis in the next general polls was another step towards utilising technology for the benefit of the masses.

He said the EVM would ensure quick and transparent counting of votes, thus, overcoming any chance of misappropriation.

He said use of technology had increased in day-to-day activities, and those who resist would lag behind.

The president said the system would not only extend convenience to pensioners, but also help them streamline in a transparent database and eliminate the ghost pensioners.

He termed biometric verification a significant step, both in facilitating the pensioners and also ensuring transparency in the disbursement of pension.

The president proposed work on retinal and facial recognition systems to accommodate around 7-12 percent population, who remained unable to be verified on losing their fingerprints for reasons such as aging, disability, excessive labour or illness.

He also emphasised an effective audit system for transparent dispensation of pensions by using tools of online data and artificial intelligence.

Stressing the use of digitalisation for the benefit of masses, he said the country’s progress was linked with timely adoption of new trends in technology.

“Only those nations will prosper that will catch up with the advanced trends of technology and make them part of their service delivery systems,” he said.

He said as digitalisation put a positive impact on a country’s economic growth by 2-3 percent, it was important to sensitize the nation about its benefits.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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