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While the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has said that Aadhaar data will not be used for criminal investigations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working on a proposal to scale up fingerprint collection across the country and link it to its ambitious Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS). The proposal also has provision for integrating face recognition system and iris scans with the CCTNS.he National Informatics Centre is already working on a cloud for its integration.

Why is this important?

  1. This will massively boost the police department’s crime investigation capabilities.
  2. It will also help civilian verification when needed.
  3. No one will be able to get away with a fake ID
  4. Even motor vehicle offenders will be connected under CCTNS

What is CCTNS?

The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS), is a project for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.

CCTNS is envisaged as a countrywide integrated database on crime incidents and criminals.

It aims to connect all police stations across the country, with all their crime and criminal data, with a central database for real time access to information.

The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau.

It works under the Ministry of Home Affairs

Background for the formation of CCTNS?

In 2009, Indian Mujahideen’s operations chief Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal was arrested by the Kolkata police in a theft case. However, he was identified as “Bulla Malik”, based on fake identity documents, and released after a few days. He went on to engineer a series of blasts in Pune and Mumbai, until he was apprehended in Nepal in 2013. This has become a reminder of the importance of CCTNS and integration of fingerprint and face recognition database in criminal investigations.

Phase 1 and Phase 2

The first phase of CCTNS is nearing completion, with 14,500 of 15,500 police stations across the country being connected. Only Bihar, for various administrative reasons, is lagging behind, with close to 850 police stations yet to be linked to CCTNS.

As part of Phase II, the MHA is planning to integrate fingerprint database stored with Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB), and use NIST Fingerprint Image Software (NFIS), a technology used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for matching fingerprints. The CFPB currently uses Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), also called FACTS, for matching fingerprints.


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