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Pension made easy through mobile app

Shillong, July 15: Chief Minister Conrad  Sangma launched the mobile app on pensioners’ life certificates using face recognition in the presence of Minister, Information Technology Hamletson Dohling, Chief Secretary, MS Rao, Additional Chief Secretary, Rebecca Suchiang, Secretary, Finance, PK Agrahari, State Informatics Officer, T Dkhar and pensioners who joined the launch via video conferencing.

Life certificate verification is a process in which the pensioners (service/family) of the state government have to appear in front of the treasury officer or pension disbursing authority to prove that they are still alive to receive the pension. The pensioner can do this either by paper based life certificate, physical appearance, biometric finger print verification system using kiosk or Jeevan Pramaan. However to avail most of these services the pensioner has to visit the treasury office. This posed a hindrance and inconvenience to pensioners due to old age, sickness and taking the travel to treasury offices. Further, the current pandemic situation added to the difficulties of a pensioner for live verification.

The mobile app

To overcome the difficulties and to make services easier for a pensioner, the NIC, in collaboration with Finance Department, has developed the mobile app called ‘The Pensioner’s Life Certificate Verification’ which offers pensioners a secure, easy and hassle-free interface for verifying whether they are alive  to the pension disbursing authorities from the comfort of their homes using smart phones.

The app uses deep learning artificial intelligence technology whereby it can detect the life situation of a pensioner from real time photographs of living pensioners and the pensioner’s identity will then be verified with the help of face verification technology. The AI algorithms used will learn through experience and with time it will increase in its capabilities of face verification as well as living persons’ detection.

All the photographs captured are stored in a local server not outside the state or the country. The exercise has been closely monitored by the Chief Secretary to ensure ease of use of the app by old age pensioners.

The chief minister, while congratulating the finance department and NIC said that the app is an example of how by using simple technology administration and services can be brought closer to the people. “The app has come where and when it is needed the most considering the fact that the pensioners are elderly people who have difficulties in travelling for services specially in these times of Covid when their going out should be minimised,”said the chief minister.

Earlier, Chief Secretary, MS Rao said that Meghalaya is one of the pioneering states to develop and use technology for the convenience of the pensioners. He also informed that that the data of the pensioners is not shared with any foreign based server and pensioners can verify their data from the convenience of their homes.

The frequency of face verification is once in six months or twice in a calendar year. The records are digitally available with the treasury office to automate the processing of the monthly pension for pensioners.

For better end to end delivery of service, a chatbot called MEDA has also been incorporated in the App where the pensioners can ask queries and type the suggestions for improvement of the app which will be duly monitored.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store using the link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plc.meg and shortly it will be available in Apple apps store for iOS users.

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