Laborers in India’s most-populated state of Uttar Pradesh are receiving biometric smart cards through which they may receive their wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, whose goal is to help workers avoid being cheated out of their pay.

“These cards contain information such as name, age, address, account details, digital photograph and fingerprint impressions of the beneficiary,” an official at Purvanchal Gramin Bank, which is issuing the cards, tells PaymentsSource.

The regional bank has hired Mumbai-based not-for-profit Financial Information Network and Operations to distribute them and to hire business correspondents.

The business correspondents will carry a smart card reading device similar to a mobile phone, according to the official. “This is a biometric-enabled reader into which the card is inserted and the money is given to the beneficiary after taking the thumb impression,” the official adds. “This way, laborers and later farmers, widows and aged persons will get their dues at their doorstep.”

Launched in October 2009, the scheme is designed to enhance consumer financial security in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment during a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. 

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