UPSC MAINS 2019 : NCRB Proposes Automated Facial Recognition System

NCRB Proposes Automated Facial Recognition System

Topic : NCRB Proposes Automated Facial Recognition System

Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 2: Indian Governance



NCRB Proposes Automated Facial Recognition System

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released a Request for Proposal for an Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) to be used by police officers across the country.



What is NCRB?

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is a government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Bureau’s mission includes empowering Indian Police with Information Technology and criminal Intelligence to enable them to uphold law and protect people and to provide leadership and excellence in crime analysis particularly for serious and organized crime.


Existing systems for crime control in India.

  • Criminal Tracking Network & Systems
    • CCTNS is countrywide integrated database on crime incidentsand suspects, connecting FIR registrations, investigations, and chargesheets of all police stations and higher offices.
    • CCTNS also plans to offer citizen services,such as passport verification, crime reporting, online tracking of case progress, grievance reporting against police officers.
  • Integrated Criminal Justice System(ICJS):
    • It is any computer network, system or architecture that allows justice practitioners and agencies to electronically access and share information between systems and/or across jurisdictional lines.
  • Khoya Paya Portal:
    • Khoya Paya portal is a citizen based website to exchange information on missing and found children developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).


How far CCTNS Progressed?

  • The Rs 2,000-crore project is accessible to the CBI, Intelligence Bureau, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and the Narcotics Control Bureau.
  • The project did not meet its initial 2015 deadline and was extended to March 2017.
  • In August 2018, the first phase of connecting the police stations was nearly complete.
  • In the second phase, the Home Ministry proposed integrating the database with the fingerprint database of the Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB). NCRB is currently rolling out the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) and its integration with CCTNS.


Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS)

  • AFRS works by maintaining a large database with photos and videos of peoples’ faces.
  • Then, a new image of an unidentified person — often taken from CCTV footage — is compared to the existing database to find a match and identify the person.
  • The artificial intelligence technology used for pattern-finding and matching is called “neural networks”.
  • Currently, facial recognition in India is done manually.



  • The project is aimed at being compatible with other biometrics such as iris and fingerprints.
  • It will be a mobile and web application hosted in NCRB’s Data Centre in Delhi, but used by all police stations in the country.


Are there any automated facial recognition systems in use in India?

  • It is a new idea the country has started to experiment with.
  • On July 1, the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s “DigiYatra” using facial recognition for airport entry was tried in the Hyderabad airport.
  • State governments have also taken their own steps towards facial recognition. Telangana police launched their own system in August 2018.


Advantages of AFRS

  • Automated Facial Recognition System can play a very vital role in improving outcomes in the area of Criminal identification and verification by facilitating easy recording, analysis, retrieval and sharing of Information between different organisations.


Integrating AFRS with Existing Database.

  • NCRB has proposed integrating automated facial recognition system with multiple existing databases like:
    • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS): managed by NCRB
    • Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS): State-specific database systems
    • Khoya paya portal
  • The integration of fingerprint database, face recognition software and iris scans will massively boost the police department’s crime investigation capabilities.
  • It will also help civilian verification when needed. No one will be able to get away with a fake ID.
  • In the US, the FBI and Department of State operate one of the largest facial recognition systems.
  • While fingerprints and iris scans provide far more accurate matching results, automatic facial recognition is an easier solution especially for identification amongst crowds.



  • Cyber experts across the world have cautioned against government abuse of facial recognition technology, as it can be used as tool of control and risks inaccurate results.
  • India should take note of the ongoing privacy debate in the US.
  • In the absence of data protection law, Indian citizens are more vulnerable to privacy abuses.


Sample Question

Do you think NCRBs proposed Automated Facial Recognition System, can reduce crime rate? Justify.



NCRB Proposes Automated Facial Recognition System infograph