The Prime Minister, who has given a push for self-certification of documents, said that digital life certificate was another enabling mechanism which would benefit the common man.

According to a Prime Minister's office release, the proposed digital certification will do away with the requirement of pensioners having to submit a physical 'Life Certificate' in November each year, in order to ensure continuity of pension being credited into their accounts.

The department of electronics and IT has developed a software application which will enable the recording of the pensioner's Aadhar number and biometric details from a mobile device or computer, by plugging in a biometric reading device.

Key details of the pensioner, including date, time, and biometric information will be uploaded to a central database on real-time basis, ultimately enabling the pension disbursing agency to access a digital life certificate.

"This will conclusively establish that the pensioner was alive at the time of authentication," the release said.

The earlier requirement entailed that a pensioner  should be personally present before the pension disbursing agency or submit the life certificate issued by authorities specified by the Central Pension Accounting Office (CPAO).

The release said that 50 lakh individuals draw pension from the central government alone and a similar number draw pension from state and union territory governments.

Several PSUs also provide pension benefits, while over 25 lakh retired personnel draw pension from the armed forces.

"The Aadhar-Based Digital Life Certificate will go a long way in reducing hardship which so many senior citizens have to go through to produce a Life Certificate every year," the release said.

It said the software application system will be made available to pensioners and other stakeholders on a large scale at no extra cost and can be operated on a personal computer or a smartphone, along with an inexpensive biometric reading device.

This facility will also be made available at common service centres being operated under the National e-Governance Plan, for the benefit of pensioners residing in remote and inaccessible areas.

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