What is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about Indian bureaucracy? Long lines, time-consuming? In a world quickly moving towards a digital future, bureaucracy at its worst is infuriating and at its best is still an inconvenience. Especially when we talk about our older generation for whom the inconveniences increase with age. One of the things that we rarely think about is how our retired government personnel, who gave their lives to serving the people, have to visit the treasury office every six months for verification so that they can continue receiving their pension. And as every six months passes, it gets tougher for them to visit for the verification. Or alternatively home visits by Treasury officials to the residence of the pensioner (in case of illness/old age). To ease this inconvenience out of their life Manipur government and Honourable Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, has launched ‘mPension Manipur’ with the vision of easing the burden on pensioners as well as the treasury officials while also hastening the process of verification.
mPension Manipur is a web-based app and can be installed easily on any smartphone with a working camera (Android as well as iOS). It can also be used on desktops and laptops with webcam support. The App uses Artificial-Intelligence techniques to detect the liveness of the pensioner being photographed and will allow the upload of only photographs taken from living persons.
We all know and are aware having seen our parents fumbling with technology that not everybody is technologically aware, that is why we have made sure the installation process can be done both by the pensioner or any relative with basic knowledge of operating the devices mentioned.
Pensioners can use the mPension Manipur app to:
i) Upload photograph every six months for verification without the need to visit the treasury office.
ii) Check the validity period of the last verification.
iii) Send feedbacks and queries to the concerned Treasury Office
iv) Receive messages from the Treasury Office regarding queries as well verification process.
The pensioners have to keep a few steps in mind during the verification process:
-Photograph of the pensioner has to be taken while holding the front page of a leading daily newspaper (local/national) of the day in front of the chest:
-The app verifies the liveliness of the pensioner being photographed i.e., while the photograph is being taken, the pensioner has to perform some facial movement in front of the camera as instructed by the application like smiling, opening of the mouth, turning of face, etc. before being permitted to upload a photo,
-Photograph uploaded by a pensioner will be approved by the Treasury Officer of the concerned Treasury. In case any reason for rejection is found, the pensioner will receive information regarding it from Treasury.
Now, this method of verification is in no way a replacement of the old procedure. It’s made to complement the old process, an additional method, keeping in mind how quickly the world is moving towards a digital solution to almost anything. Furthermore, pensioners who reside outside the state can use the app for easy updation of their photographs. And pensioners who reside in the state can still visit the treasury office for their updation process.
We can talk about the many benefits this online platform will provide but the most important one is that it makes us prepared for the future. Not only the digital future but a present that we may have to face again. We have still not come out completely from the pandemic this world is facing. The need for social distancing during Covid-19 is as important as ever with new variants and mutations being discovered. With vaccine still months away for the general population at large, it’s important for the government to provide ways to protect our at-risk crowd which includes pensioners many of whom are above 65 years of age. And we may never know when the next such thing might hit us. But if it does, this online platform will provide our at-risk population one less thing to be worried about. This is a great step by the Government of Manipur. It shows vision to plan for the future. We do things in life not only to make our present better but also to make our future easier. And it does just that.