With cases of bogus caste certificates rising in the state and caste scrutiny committees fighting lack of manpower, biometrics may soon come into the picture to secure the caste validity certificate data. The Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) is also planning to make a database of all caste certificates and caste validity certificates issued by it for all applicants across the state.
“We are in talks with a private forensic and allied science organisation based in Mumbai, Helik Advisory Limited, to incorporate biometric system of the applicants applying for validity certificates. We are also in talks with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to make a database of all certificates issued along with the details of the applicants. This will increase the security of the certificates and be helpful for the applicants in case they loses the certificates,” said D R Parihar, Director General, BARTI.
Speaking about incorporating the security details, Dr Rukmani Krishnamurthy, chairman of Helik Advisory Limited, said: “This project will be in collaboration with the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University. We are planing to include fingerprints, high-grade photograph, CR code and a unique ID. All this will be in a hidden format on the certificate as well as with the caste scrutiny committee.”
Krishnamurthy, who is also a former director of the Directorate of Forensic Sciences Laboratories, Maharashtra, added: “The use of such features will be ensure no one is able to apply in two different categories, or no two persons can take certificate in the same name. Universities or any other office can just send the unique ID on the certificate to the caste scrutiny committee to check the authenticity of the caste validity certificate of its students or employees.”
“We have already made the process of applying for validity certificate online so that the applicant gets an acknowledgment of application. We have asked the scrutiny committees to then scan and archive the data on certificates so that they are not misplaced. This will be the next step to make the entire process transparent and fool-proof,” said Parihar.
Due to the lack of manpower, caste scrutiny committees in the state are crumbling under the pressure of increasing applicants. Currently, there are 15 committees with posts of seven commissioners vacant. With Maratha and Muslim communities also getting reservation, the committees will see four times more applications, which may lead to bogus applicants taking advantage of the situation. Also, in the absence of a database, if an application is rejected by one committee, the applicant can approach any other committee and get a false certificate.
“If a memorandum of understanding is signed between BARTI and Helik, at least we will be one step closer to ensure that bogus people will not get caste certificates and take away reservation benefit meant for genuine candidates,” said Parihar.