India: eye-scans and numeric IDs to connect the poor to growth resources

In India, a new national identity system is under way that uses iris-scanning technology and the assignment of a unique 12-digit number for each person as proof of existence.

He can use the number, along with a thumbprint, to identify himself anywhere in the country. It will allow him to gain access to welfare benefits, open a bank account or get a cellphone far from his home village, something that is still impossible for many people in India.

Read more: With National Database, India Tries to Reach the Poor (NYT).

Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times. A migrant farm worker peers into an iris scanner in New Delhi in the first effort to officially record each Indian's identity as an individual.

(thanks, coolfrooddude)