National Automated Fingerprint Identification System



    • Recently, the Union Home Minister inaugurated the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) at the National Security Strategies Conference.

    More about the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS)

    • About:
      • Conceptualized and managed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) at the Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) in New Delhi. 
      • The National Automated Fingerprints Identification System (NAFIS) project is a country-wide, centralised and searchable database of crime- and criminal-related fingerprints
      • Recently,  Madhya Pradesh became the first state in the country to identify a deceased person through NAFIS.
    • Web-based application:
      • The web-based application functions as a central information repository by consolidating fingerprint data from all states and Union Territories
    • Unique ID:
      • NAFIS assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime. 
      • This unique ID will be used for the person’s lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs will be linked to the same NFN. 
    • 2020 report by the NCRB:
      • According to a 2020 report by the NCRB, it enables law enforcement agencies to upload, trace, and retrieve data from the database in real-time on a 24×7 basis.
      • The 2020 report states that the ID’s first two digits will be that of the state code in which the person arrested for a crime is registered, followed by a sequence number.
    • Evolution of National Automated Fingerprint Identification System
      • Upon the recommendations of the National Police Commission in 1986, the Central Fingerprint Bureau first began to automate the fingerprint database by digitizing the existing manual records. 
      • FACTS 1.0:
        • Digitization was carried out through India’s first Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFI) in 1992, called Fingerprint Analysis & Criminal Tracing System (FACTS 1.0)
      • FACTS 5.0:
        • The latest iteration, FACTS 5.0, which was upgraded in 2007, was considered to have “outlived its shelf life”, according to a 2018 report by the NCRB and thus needed to be replaced by NAFIS.


    • Supplementary to CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems):
      • By automating the collection, storage, and matching of fingerprints, along with digitizing the records of fingerprint data, NAFIS will provide the much-needed unique identifier for every arrested person in the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) database as both are connected at the backend.
    • Easy disposal of cases:
      • It would help in the quick and easy disposal of cases with the help of a centralised fingerprint database.

    Way Ahead

    • To facilitate identification and investigation in criminal matters, Enforcement agencies must be allowed to use scientific methods to prevent and detect crime. 
      • Necessary training should be imparted to the investigating officers.

    Fingerprint Recognition

    • These days Fingerprint Recognition is a daily part of our lives. 
    • Mobile phones, tablets and even laptops now feature fingerprint recognition functionality as standard. 
    • At work, more and more organisations are also using this type of biometric scanner to track attendance and manage their workforce alongside the security benefits it offers, replacing passwords, ID cards and door entry codes. 


    • Secure:
      • Fingerprints are much harder to fake. 
      • They also change very little over a lifetime, so the data remains current for much longer than photos and passwords.  
    • Ease of use:
      • For the user they are simple and easy to use. 
      • Person doesn’t have to remember the password or worry about forgetting a photo ID at home. 
      • Your fingerprints are always with you.  
    • Non-transferable: 
      • Fingerprints are non-transferrable, ruling out the sharing of passwords. 
      • It provides additional security against the theft of sensitive materials.  
    • Cost effective:
      • From a technology management perspective, fingerprint recognition is now a cost-effective security solution.


    • System failures:
      • Scanners are subject to the same technical failures and limitations as all other electronic identification systems such as power outages, errors and environmental factors.  
    • Cost:
      • It is true that fingerprint recognition systems are more cost effective than ever, but for smaller organisations the cost of implementation and maintenance can still be a barrier to implementation. 
      • This disadvantage is lessening as devices become more cost-effective and affordable. 
    • Exclusions:
      • While fingerprints remain relatively stable over a person’s lifetime there are sections of the population that are not suitable for using the system. 
      • For example, older people with a history of manual work may struggle to register worn prints into a system or people who have suffered the loss of fingers or hands would be excluded. 

    Source: TH