Biometric ID cards to be issued to 13,000 fishermen in EG

Biometric ID cards to be issued to 13,000 fishermen in EG
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Highlights

After years of delays from the government, more than 13,000 fishermen in the district will soon get their long-promised Marine Fishers Identity (MFID) cards. 

- After inordinate delay and concern expressed at various fora over coastal security, all the fishermen will soon have national biometric identity cards
- The national biometric cards will replace all other cards issued to fishermen by different agencies

Kakinada: After years of delays from the government, more than 13,000 fishermen in the district will soon get their long-promised Marine Fishers Identity (MFID) cards.

The Centre had proposed the need for these cards in 2009, when the terror attacks in Mumbai by attackers who came in via the sea highlighted the porousness of India’s coastline. The MFID cards are being issued by Ministry of Agriculture to empower Indian fishermen.

MFID is a biometric ID card which carries details of fishermen such as photograph, date of birth and finger biometry. The MFIDs can be used for a host of purposes like proving age, date of birth, and also while applying for passport and bank accounts.

Even though the process of issuing MFID cards was launched years ago, many fishermen are yet to receive the cards. The basic objectives of MFID scheme are to establish a National Marine Fishers Database (NMFD) which could be accessed by all the authorised agencies, to strengthen coastal security and the threat from sea route and to eliminate duplication of different cards issued to fishermen by different agencies and States.

Deputy director of fisheries T Kalyanam said that the department has received many applications and very soon cards will be distributed to 13,000 fishermen. He said the remaining 7,000 fishermen will receive cards in a phased manner.

“We want to issue cards to all fishermen and workers to achieve 100 per cent coverage very soon,” he said.

He said as of now, scanning for majority of fishermen in the district has been completed. He said a government agency has been entrusted with the task of digitisation of data, card production and issuance.

“Though the decision was taken at the highest level to issue biometric cards to all in 2009, the implementation has remained very slow. This has led to harassment by Coast Guard, Marine Police and other agencies. Now we are happy that everyone is being given a biometric card,” a fisherman said.

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