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

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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

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    5 years ago

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    5 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

    5 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

    5 years ago

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

    ch prakash

    5 years ago

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



    In Reply to ch prakash 5 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.


    5 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 5 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.


    5 years ago

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


    5 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

    5 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.

    Public Interest   Exclusive
    Pyramid Saimira Case Rolls On

    How SEBI went soft on market manipulators of the Pyramid Saimira shares, while its actions destroyed the company


    On 26th November, the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced an e-auction of the property of the controversial PS Saminathan, promoter of Pyramid Saimira Theatres Limited (PSTL), a publicly listed company. SEBI said that Mr Saminathan and his wife Uma had failed to pay up a penalty of over Rs1 crore leading to their property being attached and auctioned to recover the penalty, under SEBI’s newly acquired powers.


    The PSTL case goes back to 2008, when a market operator named Nirmal Kotecha, who is or was the co-promoter of PSTL, had used a forged SEBI letter planted in the media to make significant and undue profits. SEBI launched an exciting investigation, where, for the first time, it used call origination data from cell-phone operators to trace those involved.


    Among the many facts that emerged later was that the forged letter was an inside job by a SEBI manager colluding with Mr Kotecha. Moneylife’s persistent effort, followed by a question in parliament by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, brought this fact into the public domain. No action has been taken against the manager, who, when last heard of, was merely suspended pending inquiry. A journalist from The Economic Times, Rajesh Unnikrishnan, who was close to Nirmal Kotecha and had helped plant the story in two newspapers, was named in the SEBI investigation. So were Viral Doshi, Nirmal Kotecha’s wife, and other members of his family whose bank accounts were used to route payments.


    A couple of years ago, Mr Kotecha sought a meeting with me and came to Moneylife office. I had assumed that his purpose was to tell me his side of the story and claim that he was wrongly targeted. To my surprise, he wasn’t even particularly interested in discussing the investigation. Typically, having banned 200-odd entities through an interim order, SEBI’s investigations continued at a leisurely pace.


    SEBI, finally, completed investigation against five key entities connected with Mr Kotecha only in January 2014; of these, four others, including two of Mr Kotecha’s companies, were released from the bar on trading; some others had been let off much earlier. SEBI also ‘initiated proceedings’ against Nirmal Kotecha; but it would probably be safe to say that he is unlikely to be punished or absolved anytime soon.


    However, Mr Kotecha’s wife, Viral Doshi, decided to contest the indefinite bar on her capital market activities. She approached the securities appellate tribunal (SAT) asking it to direct SEBI to pass final orders in her case. In early March 2014, SAT asked SEBI to decide in 45 days; the regulator sprang into action less than a month later and lifted the ban on Viral Doshi. SEBI’s order said that, although she was guilty of aiding and abetting her husband’s fraudulent activities, her debarment for four years was punishment enough. This argument has been used to let off most of the Kotecha group companies.


    Meanwhile, look at what happened to PS Saminathan and PSTL, which, at one time, employed thousands of persons and had operations in six countries. PSTL’s management has been accused of dubious accounting, false corporate announcements and allotment of warrants to the promoter Mr Saminathan, without payment.


    Clearly, this was a fit case to force a change in management under the Companies Act rather than shut down a listed company, hurting the interests of investors and employees. Curiously, however, SEBI and the Supreme Court seemed to prefer a shutdown.


    While holding no brief for anyone accused of market manipulation, the PSTL case seems bizarre, when you consider that the Anil Ambani group got away with paying Rs50 crore, no admission of guilt and a very opaque consent order, after being caught channelling over Rs1,000 crore into Indian stocks by routing it via Mauritius-based Pluri Emerging Companies Cell E.


    In fact, the UK regulator imposed stiffer fines and penalties on those involved, including a fund manager called Sachin Karpe, than our regulator. But even that didn’t embarrass SEBI which maintained a stoic silence. The very same investigators who handled PSTL had also gone overseas to investigate the Anil Ambani group’s transactions. As an investor standing on the sidelines and watching the investigation and disciplinary processes of India’s market regulator, does it inspire confidence?

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    Vaibhav Dhoka

    5 years ago

    SEBIs registration is licence to do illegal things,as there is no fear of police action or otherwise.Yesterday another regulator RBI governor spoke of NPA,none of corp orates and bosses are ever prosecuted but to recover losses now they are increasing ATM charges,the result ordinary public has to bear the brunt.


    5 years ago

    Unless the laws are amended to make pay offs possible by the collective company, loyalty, and the resulting advantage, will lie with the individuals who make the pay offs. So it is that equity shareholders and investors in other such ponsi schemes (the Unit Trust of India leaps to mind)bear the losses in law less India.

    MMRDA's new building still incomplete even after spending Rs106 crore
    In spite of having its own building, MMRDA had no need to spend Rs106 crore on construction of a new office for itself. It is a complete waste of both money and resources, alleges RTI activist Anil Galgali
    After missing two deadlines since 2004 and incurring an expenditure of Rs106 crore, the new building of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the city, still remains incomplete.
    According to reply received by activist Anil Galgali, through Right to Information (RTI), the proposed new office is located behind the current premises of MMRDA at BKC. Galgali said he sought information from MMRDA authorities in regards to the construction of the new building going on behind their office to which Executive Engineer as well as public information officer of MMRDA, MY Patil, informed that the proposal for construction of the new building was given to them on 24 December 2004.
    The basic cost approved was that of Rs87 crore and it was to be completed by 31 December 2012. But in spite of giving two extensions, first till 15 September 2013 and the latest one being, 31 December 2014, the work still remains incomplete, he was told. The MMRDA authority, however, denied information to Galgali in regards to the reasons of the delay and the penalty levied on the contractors.
    The project is been done by Relcon Infraprojects Ltd; the interior decoration contract has been awarded to Godrej Company Ltd and the electrification and air-conditioning contract has been given to Pravin Electrical Ltd. The proposed new building is of 11 floors. 
    "It is a complete waste of both money and resources. Even after so many years, work remains incomplete. Next to this proposed office, there is another building, Tantri, that also belongs to the MMRDA and is equipped with the latest technology and know-how. So the need of a new office is not understood," said Galgali.
    Galgali urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also chairman of MMRDA to intervene in the matter. MMRDA, set up in 1975, is engaged in infrastructure development in MMR region which includes Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai areas and parts of Raigad district.
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