Citizens' Issues
Protest Against Biometric Attendance System

Various arms of the government are trying to implement biometric attendance system to which employees are protesting


Protest against the implementation of biometric attendance system i.e. an attendance system by way of biometric scanning by the workers and unions is underway in the Jhanjhra Area. Jhanjhra is a fully mechanised mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd, situated in Raniganj, district Burdwan in West Bengal. The Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (IFTU-Sarwahara) (Mine Workers Employee Union (IFTU-Sarwahara)), has not accepted this system, being installed by the management and has decided to struggle against the installation.

Their pamphlet dated 2 September 2014 titled Bio-Metric Attendance: An attempt to enslave the workers reads:

Despite severe protest by the workers and unions, the Jhanjhra Area Management is implementing an anti-worker biometric attendance system i.e. an attendance system by way of biometric scanning of eyes and the whole face. Apart from this biometric attendance system, there is also a hurried move to install CCTV inside the mines and offices and thereafter, provide the workers GPRS-enabled caps so that the management can keep the workers and employees under continuous strict surveillance…Let’s see why it is necessary for the workers to oppose the biometric attendance and CCTV installation.

First, via this system of attendance, the biometric machine will scan our faces and eyes and keep them online on computer/internet. This fact in itself is illegal, dangerous and worth pondering. Why? Firstly, because the scanned photograph can be, intentionally or unintentionally, misused by any agency (the one that will be privy or have access to the data.). For instance, if any terrorist organization gains access to this data, then it can be used with catastrophic repercussion. We would like to raise the question: in such an eventuality, who will be responsible? The situation accentuates in case of female workers and employees.


It will cast severe question mark on their integrity and respect. Keeping these things in mind only, in a similar instance i.e. Aadhaar Card (Unique Identification System) the Supreme Court gave a verdict, in which, it categorically said that forcibly implementing the biometric identification infringes on the fundamental right of privacy. It is a well established covenant world over that without permission no one, not even the Government, can keep physical identification of a person. The constitution of India, as is well known, prohibits any agency/ management/ institution, whatsoever it may be, from keeping such data as physical identification of a person under its control and access without one’s due permission

Second, we do not know, nor the management has informed us on the radiations emitted by the scanning machine, but, on the other hand, the workers will have to undergo scanning of their faces and eyes twice a day. Who knows what will be the impact of it on our eyes and faces! Whether management has undertaken concrete scientific investigation about it, we do not know this, too. We demand to know who will be responsible for the possible long term deadly after-effects of the Scanning Machine’s radiation.

Third, how it will have impact on the extra time involved for the attendance of the worker.


Let’s assume that there are 100 workers standing in front of the machine to punch-in their attendance, if one worker takes minimum of 30 seconds (though in reality it may take much more), then for the last worker it will take extra 50 minutes to punch-in his/her attendance. That means he/she will have to leave for the work 50 minutes before the schedule. Same will be the case for punch-out. Who will be responsible for this wastage of time and who will compensate for this loss?

Fourth, the confidence of workers is vital. In case of the machine malfunctioning or it being out of order, or if it fails to record attendance even after saying “thank you” i.e. in case of false recording of attendance, and hence in case of attendance dispute arising there from, what proof will the worker have in his possession to claim that he was present?

Fifth, similarly what will happen for driller, dresser, explosive carrier and short firer? As is evident from the design of things appearing through biometric, pressure on them to enhance workload is bound to increase.

Sixth, as is becoming as clear as day light from the above facts, it is ludicrous as to why the management is wasting at all a fortune as big as thousands of lakhs or crores of rupees on installing the biometric system. It has been clarified above that there is no worth, as is being claimed over board by the management, in installing this machine; on the contrary, it is anti-workers, dangerous and one that will fuel unnecessary debate and unrest. Actually the main intention of the ECL managements is to have total control over the life of workers that is simply excessive and unnecessary.

Seventh, one of the arguments given by management is that it will increase production. The motive of installing CCTV inside the mines and offices, too, has to be seen in this light. In reality, the intention of the management is to increase the production by way of excessively pressurising the workers. The truth, however, is that precondition of increasing production is that workers must have a joyful family life. It is vital that the worker gets the necessary 8 hours of leisure, their homes are clean and healthy, they get proper transport and there are such safety measures as are necessary to make the mines safe for the workers. But the management seldom thinks of bringing these qualitative changes in. The management has not been able to even provide clean drinking water to the homes of the workers. Electricity supply is simply pathetic and the workers quarters are such that one cannot even use gas cylinder. The state of cleanliness of their colonies is an open secret. Under such inhuman conditions, how can workers increase production?

Biometric attendance is being implemented in Durgapur Steel Plant too, which is predictably inviting protests. By a Circular No. Pers-CF/BARS/2014/508 dated 11th November, 2014 G Sujatha, AGM (Pers-CS), Durgapur Steel Plant, Steel Authority of India Ltd, has made procedure of Biometric Attendance Recording System mandatory with insuring disciplinary actions. Hindustan Steel Workers Union, Durgapur Steel Plant are protesting against “illegal and illegitimate capturing of fingerprints  of employees and implementation of “Biometric Attendance Recording System” without any lawful authority and in violation of Article-21 of the Constitution of India and other related statutes.” Their letter dated November 17, 2014 to CEO of Durgapur Steel Plant reads:

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and Delhi University College Karamchari Union (DUCKU) are protesting against the installation and implementation of Bio Metric Attendance system as well.


(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

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Is Narendra Modi right in going back to Aadhaar?

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V

UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part VI
Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part VII

Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part VIII

Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part IX

Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part X

Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part XI

Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part XII

CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part XIII

Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part XIV

Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part XV

Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part XVI

Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part XVII

Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part XVIII

Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX

Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –PartXX

Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part XXI

Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII

Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part XXIII

How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part XXIV

Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part XXV

Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part XXVI

Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part XXVII

Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part XXIX

How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part XXX

Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part XXXI

Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part XXXII

Who allowed merger of voter database with the illegal Aadhaar? Part XXXIII

Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part XXXIV

How biometric IDs can stir 'the Pot' and lead to civil war? -Part XXXV

Will Nandan Nilekani be held accountable for violating service conduct rules and citizens’ rights? Part XXXVI




2 years ago

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3 years ago

Newspapers, magazines, channels websites routinely reproduce pamphlets of companies and govt agencies. Reprodduction of official documents has long been part of accepted journalistic practice. A pamphlet is an official document of the trade union. There is a tendency to treat corporate and govt pamplets as gospel truths, but when it comes from workers, unthinking class bias against them manifests itself.

a simple search on the net can reveal that face scan technology are commercially available. face scan technology ranges from software-only solutions that process images processed through existing closed-circuit tv cameras to full fledged acquisition & processing systems, including cameras, workstations, & backend processors. in facial recognition technology, a digital video camera image is used to analyze facial characteristics such as the distance between eyes, mouth or nose. measurements r stored in a database. it is used to compare with a subject standing before a camera.

The submission " (I work for a such organization where our finger prints being used for recording our attendance, We are close to 2L employees, no one protested)" appears logically lame coz it does not explain why parliamentary committee and Supreme Court is also against it besies several countries.

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, a people’s judge of the Supreme Court who passed away on December 4 opposed biometric aadhaar . His views have been endorsed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, Supreme Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and National Human Rights Commission besides European Court of Human Rights, governments of UK, France, Australia, China and Supreme Court of Philippines, the present BJP led government like the previous Congress Party led Government is bulldozing the biometric data based 12 digit Unique Identification (UID) number branded as aadhaar. The Supreme Court's order dated March 24, 2014 reveals that Justice Iyer and his 16 other co-signatories and the workers in Durgapur and Raniganj are right in demanding stoppage of the biometric aadhaar and related projects. It also demonstrates that all the circulars and orders of Government of India and State Governments are illegal and illegitimate. BJP was right during the election campign but is wrong when in power. or is the other way round?

As GPRS enabled cap, a GPRS (general packet radio service) helmet exists with communication positioning module.

the assumption on the uniqueness of biomtrics and the immortality of biological features is far fetched for sure.

Abhijit Jalisatgi

3 years ago

What kind of journalism is this, blindly copy pasting the pamphlet?
First of all we don't even know such "face scanning" technologies commercially available for any one to use it. Already some of the private companies use biometric attendance system, but they are limited to finger print scanning, not face recognition system ( I work for a such organization where our finger prints being used for recording our attendance, We are close to 2L employees, no one protested). Face scanning seems bit far fetched for me. I have only seen it Hollywood movies. It may be true, such technology really being used by mining company.

Then one more gem:"GPRS-enabled caps" Do they even know what is GPRS means? :-)

Thank you ML for making my day.

A S Bhat

3 years ago

what are moneylife's views on the various points raised by workers' union?

ch prakash

3 years ago

Bogus and silly reasons. Don't wish to work sincerely.



In Reply to ch prakash 3 years ago

Don't say this blindly. You have to go through facts before commenting. My son is working in a well known industry and he says only finger printing is allowed through scanning. The attendance is usually good. What we need is a transformation through education and not by compulsion.


3 years ago

haha coal workers worried about "privacy", "health radiation", "total control over the life of workers", "joyful family life"...

other people are working so hard and honestly paying 33% Income Tax and these guys want joyful family life



In Reply to bhaskar 3 years ago

I have gone through a report somewhere the situation is reversing in Government jobs. Were you not aware the government wash of its hand if a unit works under loss. Any one can enjoy a family life not necessarily he/she should be a government servant.


3 years ago

Bio metric systems, indeed all laws, for THEM, the non governmental citizen. Not for us, the Sarkar!


3 years ago

They don't want to come to work in time. Infested with dummy workers. They just want to suck the economy dry. They are the real terrorists.

k m rao

3 years ago

The reason for opposing this measure is simple. The employees of PSUs and govt. cannot cheat any more and they will have to work. I wonder whether they will allow the equipment to work.

Need to make provisions for extracting coal bed methane in coal block auctions

A reference needs to be made for a quick policy review on coal bed methane -CBM, so that, when the coal blocks are allotted, it is imperative for the allottees to plan work on simultaneous extraction of CBM, when they start the mining operation


In line with the Supreme Court directives, the coal blocks will now be auctioned and the tender documents are expected to be announced on 22nd December. The actual auction process is expected to commence on 11th February and close by 15th March so that this matter can be set to rest. Earnest work on the blocks will start later, once other matters relating to environment and forest clearances are obtained.


In the meantime, the Coal Ministry has proposed a minimum floor price of Rs100 as reserve price for State and Central government enterprises and Rs150 for the rest, when these coal blocks are put up for auction. A Cabinet note, circulated by the Ministry is likely to be taken up on Wednesday, 10 December 2014. Depending upon the grade of coal, which varies from block to block, the final floor price will be determined.


The lowest grade of coal with a rating of 2,200/2,500 Kcal/Kg is available at about Rs550 per tonne and the highest grade at 6,200/7,000 Kcal/kg is priced at Rs5,000 per tonne.


These are based on the Coal India notified price for different types/grades of fuel.


Generally, the power sector uses 5,900 Kcal/kg (gross caloric value) and it is sold around Rs2,590/2,800.


Earlier, 74 blocks were earmarked for auction, but now, 18 more have been added to make a total of 92, as per Coal Secretary, Anil Swarup. The mining plan for these 18 blocks has been approved and they have the potential to produce 100 million tonnes per year. However, environment clearance is not there yet.


The tender document is likely to be released on 22nd December and the auctions are scheduled to start on 11th February and be completed by 15th March 2015. Mines would be allotted on a priority basis to specified end users; out of 92 blocks in the first phase, 57 would be given to power sector. Of these 34 may be earmarked for Central and State power sector undertakings.


While attending a workshop organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce of India (FICCI), Anil Swarup was speaking to the press when he is reported to have made these statements. He conveyed that the Ministry was also working on setting up an electronic platform where, he said, "we will house all the problems and then take it up with the stakeholders". This platform is likely to be operative in the next ten days.


This electronic platform is expected to include all matters relating to land, delays in obtaining forestry and environmental clearances, among others. Expeditious handling and clearances, or even waivers, to these blocks would enable the stakeholders to get on with the job of mining operations with least delay.


It is in this connection, a reference need to be made for a quick policy review on Coal Bed Methane (CBM), so that, when these coal blocks are allotted, it is imperative for the allottees to plan work on SIMULTANEOUS extraction of CBM, when they start the mining operation.


Several countries like the US, Australia have the expertise in this area, and it may be worthwhile for the successful bidder to invite qualified consultants/partners to assist them to tap CBM which will go waste, otherwise!


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


Portland city of US sues Uber for illegal operation

The city of Portland in Oregon said it is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections 


International taxi-booking service Uber, which has been banned in Delhi after a woman passenger accused one of its drivers of rape, has been sued by the US city of Portland for operating its service illegally.
The city of Portland in Oregon sued Uber, three days after the California-based ride sharing service launched its widely publicised service last Friday.
In its lawsuit, the city of Portland asked the court to declare that the ride provider is subject to city regulations and can’t operate in it until it complies with city rules.
The Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, argued that the city’s main concern is public health and safety.
“Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that. Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety,” he said.
“So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we’re seeking a court injunction,” Hales said.
After the lawsuit was filed, Transportation Commissioner Steve said the city is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections.
Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.
“If Uber thinks there should be no maximum price on what they charge Portlanders, they should make their case to the Portland City Council. If Uber thinks taxi companies shouldn’t have to serve people with disabilities, they should make their case. If Uber thinks taxis should not have to have proper insurance in case of a crash, they should tell us why we should allow that,” Novick said.
The lawsuit asked the Court to order Uber to stop operating in Portland until it is in compliance with the city’s safety, health and consumer protection rules.
Earlier another city in Oregon – Eugene – had asked Uber to cease its operation.
Uber was banned from operating in Delhi after the passenger accused one of its drivers of rape.
Similarly, Dutch judges banned UberPOP, which allows non-professional drivers to register with Uber via a mobile phone and offer trips in their own cars at half the price of a regular cab.


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