Current Issues: (BSID)

Published on 31-Aug-2019 -BSID

World’s First-Ever Facial Bio-Metric Data-Based Seafarer Identity Document (BSID)

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In News:

  • India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial biometric data of seafarers.
  • The shipping sector is seeing major developments in the areas of coastal shipping, inland waterways, and other maritime activities. This is leading to a generation of employment in the sector, which is evident in the growing number of Indian seafarers in the international shipping industry.
  • The total number of Indian seafarers who were employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased from 154349 in 2017 to 208799 this year, showing an unprecedented increase of 35%.
  • The new card is in confirmation of the Convention No. 185 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on BSID. India ratified the Convention in October 2015.


  • The new facial biometric technology is a marked improvement over the two-finger or iris-based bio-metric data, with modern security features.
  • It will make the identification of the SID holder more reliable and efficient while protecting their dignity and privacy. India had made a presentation on this technology at ILO.
  • The new document will give a foolproof identification to our seafarers which will facilitate their movement, provide ease of getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.

Features of BSID:

  • The BSID introduces modern security features.
  • It will have a biometric chip embedded in it.
  • The security of the BSID card is ensured at various levels and through different methods.
  • At the time of data capturing the live face is cross-matched through passport photo using a face-matching software.
  • The card has two optical security features- Micro prints/micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern.
  • A Software has been developed for capturing the facial biometrics and its authentication through the public key infrastructure.
  • A record of each SID issued will be maintained in a national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.

BSID Project:

  • In India, the BSID project has been taken up in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai.
  • The Government notified the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers Bio-metric Identification Document) Rules in 2016.
  • The issuance of SID involves the collection of biometric and demographic details of the seafarers, their verification and then issuance of the card to them.
  • Nine data collection centers have been set up at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Noida, Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Vizag &Kandla for the issue of BSID.
  • Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate issued by the Govt. of India will be eligible for issue of a BSID.
  • The total number of existing Indian seafarers who will be required to be issued BSIDs is around 3,50,000.
  • All the existing seafarers will be given BSID within the next 2 years. After this, it is estimated that around 15000 new seafarers will be issued BSIDs annually.

India & ILO:

  • India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization, which came into existence in 1919.
  • At present, the ILO has 186 Members. A unique feature of the ILO is its tripartite character.
  • The membership of the ILO ensures the growth of the tripartite system in the Member countries.
  • At every level in the Organization, Governments are associated with the two other social partners, namely the workers and employers.
  • All the three groups are represented on almost all the deliberative organs of the ILO and share responsibility in conducting its work.
  • The three organs of the ILO are:
    1. International Labour Conferences:- General Assembly of the ILO – Meets every year in the month of June.
    2. Governing Body:- Executive Council of the ILO. Meets three times in a year in the months of March, June, and November.
    3. International Labour Office:- A permanent secretariat.

International Labour Standards – ILO Conventions:

India so far ratified 41 Conventions of the ILO, which is much better than the position existing in many other countries. Even where for special reasons, India may not be in a position to ratify a Convention, India has generally voted in favour of the Conventions reserving its position as far as its future ratification is concerned.

Core Conventions of the ILO:-

The eight Core Conventions of the ILO (also called fundamental/human rights conventions) are:

  • Conventions ratified by India:-
    1. Forced Labour Convention (No. 29).
    2. Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105).
    3. Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100).
    4. Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111).
  • Conventions not ratified by India:-
    1. Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87).
    2. Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98).
    3. Minimum Age Convention (No.138).
    4. Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182).

Note: There are 43 ILO conventions and 1 protocol ratified by India. We had earlier ratified 45 conventions but we have since denounced Convention No.2 and Convention No.41. There are 8 core conventions of which we have ratified 4.

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